COLOMBO - Rain played a role on all five days of the P Sara Oval Test and Niroshan Dickwella made a dogged half-century on the final day, threatening the first drawn Test in Sri Lanka after 25 results, but New Zealand still found a way to snatch 60 points to square the series 1-1.

After BJ Watling rumbled to a century in the morning, the bowlers blasted out Sri Lanka’s top five for next to nothing, but a late rearguard from Dickwella kept New Zealand waiting. Tim Southee and Trent Boult - both of whom reached 250 Test wickets in this game - eventually sealed victory amid fading light to deny the hosts.

When the final session began, Sri Lanka still needed to bat out 36 overs to salvage a draw - they were 99 runs off making New Zealand bat again with three wickets in hand. That said, there was always a good chance of the game ending sooner as the light continued to worsen.

Dickwella found an equally stubborn partner in Suranga Lakmal, who defended well against the seamers, but couldn’t rein himself in against Will Somerville’s loopy offbreaks. He cracked Somerville for three boundaries, including a six over long-on, but the spinner had the last laugh when he had Lakmal fending a catch to short leg.

Dickwella, who loves bat on ball, showed greater restraint and brought up his slowest fifty, off 151 balls. It needed a moment of brilliance from Tom Latham to end Dickwella’s vigil. When Dickwella tickled a sweep in the air, Latham anticipated swiftly, moving to his left from short leg to latch on. Five balls later, Boult delivered the finishing touch when he bounced out Lasith Embuldeniya.

In a major blow to Sri Lanka , Dimuth Karunaratne was not able to bat higher than No. 7 in the second innings after suffering a quadricep tear, which kept him off the field on the fourth day as well as on the fifth morning. After entering at 32 for 5, he overcame a tetchy start and knuckled down with Dickwella, who had also spent considerable time off the field after hurting his fingernail while keeping wicket.

Karunaratne and Dickwella soaked up 132 balls together before Southee snapped the partnership and earned his 250th Test wicket in the process, slanting a full ball into Karunaratne from around the wicket. No stroke was on offer as the batsman simply padded up and was pinned in front for 21 off 70 balls. Southee then went over the wicket and coaxed an outside edge from Dilruwan Perera before Somerville and Boult got involved.

New Zealand had laid down the marker in the morning by whipping up 49 runs in just five overs after overnight showers had delayed the start of play. Colin de Grandhomme holed out second ball of the day, but Watling did a de Grandhomme, sweeping, reverse sweeping and even advancing down the track in carefree fashion.

He moved into the 90s with a drilled drive past Lahiru Kumara, the bowler, and later raised his own century and New Zealand’s 400 with a down-the-track club over the midwicket boundary.

Days after becoming New Zealand’s most prolific run-scorer among wicketkeepers, Watling surpassed his former captain Brendon McCullum again, this time to become the highest century-maker among New Zealand wicketkeepers. Southee also joined the fun, contributing 24 off ten balls in a rollicking 49-run seventh-wicket stand with Watling, before Kane Williamson called them in.