Wellington: New Zealand will have a fight to ensure they get back into the second test against Sri Lanka on Monday but the wicket was aiding a recovery, according to wicket-keeper BJ Watling.
The hosts, who have a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, ended the second day at the Basin Reserve with a 113-run deficit after Kumar Sangakkara had changed the game with a super 203 in his side`s 356 to give them a 135-run lead.
New Zealand`s openers Tom Latham (nine) and Hamish Rutherford (12), then saw their side through to 22 without loss at the close and will need to take a leaf out of Sangakkara`s book to further reduce that deficit.
"Not an ideal position now so we have a bit of work to do and show a bit of fight in day three," Watling told reporters.
"It`s a big first session, hopefully the openers can get through and start to eke away at that lead.
"But it is getting a bit easier to bat and hopefully days three and four are good batting days and we can cash in."
Watling`s team mates need only look at how Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal, who strode to the wicket on Sunday with their side on 78 for five and after some tentative and nervous moments, negated any advantage New Zealand had in the game.
Sangakkara then took over, working the ball all around the sun-drenched Basin Reserve, punching it into gaps or dispatching short balls aerially behind square on both sides of the wicket.
He also frustrated the New Zealand bowlers by dominating the strike with the tail, contributing 110 of 148 runs in three partnerships with his own bowlers as the visitors built their lead before a sensational one-handed diving catch by Trent Boult at point ended his innings on 203.
"He played a hell of a knock," Watling said.
"We weren`t quite as disciplined as we would have liked to be and obviously Kumar took advantage of that and we saw how good he is.
"He gapped the ball well, waited for the loose balls and obviously with the tail he faced most of the balls so we couldn`t bowl enough at the tail enders.
"It was a demonstration of how to play from a world class player."