Wellington, New Zealand: Nuwan Pradeep took three wickets and Dhammika Prasad claimed the vital scalp of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum on Monday as Sri Lanka tightened its grip on the second cricket test at tea on the third day.
New Zealand lost McCullum for 22 and Jimmy Neesham for 19 between lunch and tea to go to the break at 183-5, an overall lead of only 48 runs after it had trailed by 135 on the first innings.
Pradeep (3-40) removed both openers during the morning session — Hamish Rutherford for 40 and Tom Latham for 35 — then returned in the afternoon, bowling briskly with a strong wind at his back, to break up the partnership of Neesham and Kane Williamson.
Williamson was 48 not out and wicketkeeper B.J. Watling was 14.
Kumar Sangakkara dominated the second day Sunday with a 203 — his 11th double century in tests — to lift Sri Lanka from a vulnerable position at 78-5 to a commanding first innings lead.
McCullum, who led the hosts to victory in the first test in Christchurch with a sparkling first-innings total of 195, had the potential to bat New Zealand back into a position of strength in the second test, as well. He made 302 against India in his previous test at the Basin Reserve last February, saving the match for New Zealand after the hosts had trailed by 246 runs on the first innings.
But McCullum was dismissed lbw to Prasad in the 47th over, leaving Williamson as New Zealand's last hope of achieving a substantial lead.
Neesham fell in almost identical circumstances, trapped lbw by Pradeep. He was out when New Zealand was 159-5 and leading by only 24 runs.