Sri Lanka thrash ailing Kiwis in first Test

GALLE, August 22, 2009 (AFP) – An illness-ravaged New Zealand were bamboozled in the face of pace and spin as Sri Lanka cruised to a 202-run victory in the first Test on Saturday to lead the two-match series. The Kiwis, set an improbable target of 413 runs, collapsed to 210 all out in their second innings before tea on the fifth and final day at the Galle International Stadium.

Despite some fine bowling, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara singled out for praise Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was named man of the match for his 92 and 123 not out while opening the batting for the first time in Tests.

“Dilshan has matured as a cricketer and taken on a lot of responsibility and his two knocks helped us gain the advantage,” said Sangakkara.

“I would not call this an easy win, but if New Zealand had showed the character that Vettori did — and they had a few partnerships going — this game could have been stretched a bit.

“I am glad the way we are going. It is important to win, but more important to win consistently and I think we have been able to achieve that in the last few years.”

Sri Lanka, who beat Pakistan 2-0 last month, will climb to number two behind South Africa in the world r