Karunaratne, Thirimanne put Sri Lanka 1-0 up against New Zealand

Skipper Karunaratne scored his ninth Test century and was involved in a 161-run stand, highest by a Sri Lankan opening pair in a fourth innings, with Thirimanne (64) to lead the home side's chase.

Karunaratne celebrates his ninth Test century during the Galle Test against New Zealand.   -  AP/PTI

Sri Lanka rode on the batting exploits of Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne to chase down 268 and pull off a six-wicket in the first Test at Galle on Sunday.

Skipper Karunaratne scored his ninth Test century and was involved in a 161-run stand, highest by a Sri Lankan opening pair in a fourth innings, with Thirimanne (64) to lead the home side's chase.

With the win, Sri Lanka has sixty points on the World Test Championship table.

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On the first-wicket partnership, Karunaratne said, "It's not easy chasing in the fourth innings. We needed a good partnership, and that's what Thirimanne and I discussed. On the fifth day, we started well and wanted to keep at it. Once you're set, you have to make a big one."

Sri Lanka started the fifth day on an overnight total of 133/0. Openers Karunaratne and Thirimane took their stand to 161 before the latter was dismissed in the 11th over of the day by William Sommerville. Ajaz Patel then struck in the next over with the wicket of Kusal Mendis.

Angelo Matthews, however, stuck with his captain and Karunaratne soon brought up his ton with a four. It was the first time in his 60-Test career that Karunaratne had scored a hundred in the fourth innings of a match. When Karunaratne fell on 122, Sri Lanka was only 50 runs shy of the target with seven wicket in hand.

However, New Zealand’s pain only continued with Kusal Perera, who replaced his captain in the middle, increasing the rate of scoring. Perera was given out for caught behind off the eighth ball that he faced but he successfully reviewed the decision. An over later New Zealand reviewed an unsuccessful LBW appeal against him but he survived that, too. The Kiwis took the second new ball after that over.

With the match nearing its conclusion the first session was extended by 30 minutes. New Zealand finally managed to dismiss Perera when he was caught at mid-on off Boult. However, Matthews and Dananjaya de Silva comfortably saw Sri Lanka over the line.

(With inputs from IANS)