Wellington: Sri Lanka struck back after a wayward start in the second Test to have New Zealand 93-2 at lunch on a bowler-friendly Basin Reserve wicket in Wellington on Saturday.
Kane Williamson was not out 34 with Ross Taylor on 13.
New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Hamish Rutherford batted through the opening overs without pressure, with the Sri Lankan quicks bowling short and wide, failing to take full advantage of a green wicket and a howling southerly wind.
It was not until Suranga Lakmal changed ends and sides, bowling around the wicket into the wind, that they found success.
He tempted Latham with a wide delivery that cut back on the New Zealand opener and he was caught behind for six.
Rutherford, searching for a big score after averaging just 12.00 in his past 10 innings, batted aggressively to have a half century in sight when he was caught behind off Nuwan Pradeep for 37 which included five boundaries.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews did not hesitate to bowl on winning the toss and being offered an inviting green wicket, overcast skies and a strong wind.
But as happened in similar conditions in the first Test in Christchurch, which New Zealand won by eight wickets, the Sri Lankans started off bowling too short.
Rather than threaten the batsmen they gave them time to settle in.
New ball bowler Shaminda Eranga was omitted from the line-up for this Test replaced by Pradeep in one of three changes in the Sri Lankan side.
Spinner Rangana Herath and middle-order batsman Dinesh Chandimal were brought in for Tharindu Kaushal and Niroshan Dickwella.
New Zealand made one change with fast bowler Doug Bracewell coming in for Neil Wagner.