WELLINGTON: Dion Conway’s brilliant 78 helped hosts New Zealand to 155-2 against Sri Lanka at the end of the rain-delayed opening day of the second Test in Wellington on Friday.
Conway fell short of a century as he was caught and bowled by Dhananjaya de Silva, who dived down to his right to get both hands on a brilliant catch, ending a sensational 108-ball score.
First Test hero Kane Williamson was unbeaten on 26 with Henry Nicholls on 18 when Sri Lanka won the toss and elected New Zealand to bat after poor light at Basin Reserve halted play.
“When I did it, I was anxious to get out, I had done all the hard work,” Conway said.
“Those are the ones you want to kick on and make the most of on day one… We’ve just got to focus on tomorrow.”
After a damp start to the 2500th Test in cricket history, New Zealand got off to a strong start, with Conway and Tom Latham putting on an 87-run opening partnership.
Heavy overnight rain delayed the toss until after lunch.
Near the halfway point of the day’s cut action, Latham fell for 21 when he bowled a Kasan Rajitha delivery at deep square to Parbat Jayasuriya.
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne chose to give his bowlers an early opportunity to use the green wicket to attack the New Zealand batsmen.
Conway hit 13 fours in reply.
Sri Lanka made one last-ball change to the side that lost the first Test in Christchurch, with wicketkeeper Nishan Madushka making his debut in place of Nirvana Dakvila.
New Zealand were forced to make a single switch with paceman Doug Bracewell, playing his first Test since 2016, replacing Neil Wagner, who tore a hamstring in the first Test.
This is the first time Bracewell has played a Test match alongside his cousin Michael.
New Zealand are chasing a third Test win in a row.