New Zealand had tried everything to dislodge Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews on the fourth day of the drawn first Test at the Basin Reserve, said Kane Williamson on Wednesday, as the skipper paid tribute to the Sri Lanka pair's discipline and patience.
The match ended in a damp draw after only an hour of play was possible on the fifth and final day due to rain, with Sri Lanka on 287 for three in their second innings, still nine runs shy of New Zealand's mammoth first innings of 578.
Mendis and Mathews had saved their team from defeat on Tuesday when they took advantage of a placid wicket to bat the entire day. It was the first time in more than a decade that a wicket had not fallen on a complete day's play in Test cricket.
Williamson said he spoke to senior players to try to come up with an idea to break the partnership on the fourth day but nothing had worked.
"Everything we did yesterday didn't provide too many opportunities," he told reporters on Wednesday after stating with a laugh that he might have changed "everything" if he could replay the fourth day again.
"We sat down and had a number of conversations ... and said 'what's something else we can try?'.
"We tried pretty much all of it."
Mendis finished on 142 not out, while Mathews was on 120, having combined for a record 274-run partnership.
"There wasn't a lot happening," said Williamson.
"We tried a few short balls and changes of tack and tried to build pressure for a period of time to buy a wicket to a certain extent.”
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal also acknowledged Mendis and Mathews had saved the game for his side, who were dominated by New Zealand over the first three days.
SCORES IN BRIEF
SRI LANKA: First innings 282
NEW ZEALAND: First innings 578
SRI LANKA: Second innings 287 for 3 (Mendis 141 not out, Mathews 120 not out; Southee 2-52, Boult 1-62)
Result: Match drawn.
Player-of-the-match: Tom Latham.