New Zealand broke one stubborn partnership only to be presented with another Saturday as Sri Lanka fought hard to save the second cricket test on a hot fourth day.

Captain Dinesh Chandimal rallied Sri Lanka’s resistance as it faced the prospect of having to bat two full days to draw the match and series after starting its second innings 659 runs behind.

At tea, Sri Lanka was 155-3 in its second innings, with Chandimal 56 not out, joined by Angelo Mathews who was on 22.

Chandimal put on 116 runs for Sri Lanka’s third wicket with Kusal Mendis, who was the only man out in the first two sessions on Friday, caught on 67.

The partnership between Chandimal and Mendis spanned 53 overs and 225 minutes and awoke in the New Zealanders the memory of the fourth day of the first test in Wellington, which Mendis and Mathews negotiated a day’s play without the loss of a wicket.

Such days are rare in test history; the Wellington occasion was the first wicketless day in a test in New Zealand and the first anywhere in the world for a decade. But for almost half of the fourth day of this test, the prospect that history might repeat itself loomed large.

New Zealand exhausted all of its bowling options, seam and spin, without obvious disconcerting Chandimal or Mendis who progressed slowly but determinedly to their half centuries.

Mendis reached his eighth half century in tests before lunch, from 113 balls, and Chandimal reached his 17th before tea from 170 balls in 220 minutes.

New Zealand finally made the breakthrough when Mendis fell to a brilliant catch by the substitute fielder Matt Henry at short cover from the bowling of Neil Wagner.

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Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal ducks to avoid a bouncer during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal ducks to avoid a bouncer during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews hobbles down the wicket after injuring his leg while batting during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews hobbles down the wicket after injuring his leg while batting during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews plays a pulls shot while batting during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews plays a pulls shot while batting during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
New Zealand's Neil Wagner appeals unsuccessfully for a catch behind the wicket during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
New Zealand’s Neil Wagner appeals unsuccessfully for a catch behind the wicket during play on day four of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Source: The Associated Press