Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by six wickets on Sunday in Galle to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series. Chasing a target of 268, Sri Lanka rode on a magnificent hundred from captain Dimuth Karunaratne to get over the line in the first session of Day 5.

Karunaratne, who scored 39 runs in the first innings, played masterfully and scored 122 runs to help Sri Lanka bag the match with ease. He hit 6 boundaries and a six during the course of his innings.

Earlier on Saturday, the guests were bundled out for 285 runs, hence setting a target of 268 for the hosts.

Talking about the fifth day, Sri Lanka started on an overnight total of 133 for 0, needing more 135 runs to win. Openers Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimane (64) extended their stand to 161 before the latter was dismissed in the 11th over of the day by William Sommerville. Ajaz Patel then struck in the next over with the wicket of Kusal Mendis (10).

Angelo Matthews (28 not out), however, dug in with his captain and Karunaratne soon scored his ninth Test ton with a four. It was the first time in 60-Test career that Karunaratne had scored a hundred in the fourth innings of a match. The pair kept ticking away the runs and by the time Karunaratne was dismissed, the hosts were just 50 runs away from victory.

With the match nearing its conclusion the first session was extended by 30 minutes. New Zealand managed to dismiss standing batsman Kusal Perera but it was too late for the guests to make a comeback. Matthews and Dananjaya de Silva (14 not out) comfortably took Sri Lanka over the line.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 267 all out and 268 for 4 (Dimuth Karunaratne 122, Lahiru Thirimanne 64; Tim Southee 1/33) beat New Zealand 249 and 285 (BJ Watling 77, Tom Latham 45; Lasith Embuldeniya 4/99) by six wickets.

(With inputs from IANS)