Latham, Nicholls hundreds puts Black Caps in complete control

Tom Latham's 176 and an unbeaten 162 from Henry Nicholls strengthened New Zealand's grip on victory in Christchurch.

New Zealand pair Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls piled agony on Sri Lanka.   -  Getty Images

Centuries from Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls put victory firmly in sight of New Zealand following day three of the second Test against Sri Lanka.

Latham's 176 and an unbeaten 162 from Nicholls strengthened New Zealand's grip as the Black Caps charged towards a 659-run lead in Christchurch on Friday.

Colin de Grandhomme (71 not out) and Nicholls hit 124 off 87 balls for the fifth wicket before New Zealand captain Kane Williamson declared the innings on 585-4.

Trent Boult and Tim Southee were unleashed late in the day and the pair snared a wicket apiece to leave Sri Lanka – who were skittled for 104 in the first innings – reeling at 24-2, still 636 runs behind.

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Ross Taylor (40) and Latham returned to resume New Zealand's innings on 231-2 – a lead of 305 runs at the start of day three and the former added 15 to his overnight score before he was trapped lbw by Lahiru Kumara (2-134).

That was the only wicket to fall in the morning session as Sri Lanka were forced to toil fruitlessly on an unforgiving pitch – a forgettable day for Dilruwan Perera, Dushmantha Chameera and Kumara.

Latham and Nicholls took centre stage from that point, the former adding to his 264-run display in Wellington with another performance of endurance for his eighth Test ton.

New Zealand's Latham – who carried the bat at Basin Reserve – took his series tally to 450 runs as he batted for 574 minutes and put on 214 alongside Nicholls before he was sent packing by Chameera (1-147) with the final ball before tea.

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Nicholls kept the scoreboard ticking over with his fourth Test century as he posted his highest red-ball score for New Zealand.

He and De Grandhomme – who hit a 28-ball fifty – were relentless, pilling further misery on Sri Lanka, who were simply no match for the Kiwis.

Sri Lanka only have eight wickets in hand with two full days remaining as they attempt to somehow salvage the two-Test series after opening pair Danushka Gunathilaka (4) and Dimuth Karunaratne (4) fell cheaply.