Galle: Sri Lanka handed New Zealand a crushing 10-wicket defeat inside three days on Monday to claim the opener of their two-match series and consign the visitors to a fifth successive Test loss for the first time in 57 years.
Resuming at 35 for one in their second innings on a blameless pitch in Galle, the Black Caps were skittled out for just 118, including the loss of seven wickets for 61 runs in the morning session.
Spinner Rangana Herath was once again the tormentor-in-chief, taking six for 43 to follow up on his first innings haul of 5-65. The home side were left requiring just 93 to win and Thranaga Paranavitana (31) and debutant Dimuth Karunaratne (60) knocked off the runs before the tea break.
The defeat meant that for the first time since 1955 ' before they won a match at the highest level ' New Zealand have lost five Tests in a row, following 2-0 series losses against the West Indies and India earlier this year.
"That's not a nice statistic to hear and we have got to put it right quickly," captain Ross Taylor said. "It will be difficult in Colombo (for the next Test) and then in South Africa, it won't get any easier, but we need to pick ourselves up.
"It was a good wicket, as they showed when they batted in the second innings but Herath put us under pressure and he was too good for us at the end of the day. We need a method and a plan to play him for the next match."