The 27-year-old left hand batsman was considered a veteran in the top of the order, having played 23 previous Tests with his opening partner Kusal Mendis playing just his second, while number three Udara Jayasundera was making his debut.
"There is no (Kumar) Sangakkara and Mahela (Jayawardene) so we have to put our hands up and play big knocks," Karunaratne said in a televised interview after he made a patient 84 in Sri Lanka's 197 for four at the close of play at University Oval in Dunedin of the second day.

"We have to play with the youngsters and hang on with them, rotate the strike and try to get a big one and (for me) to play a senior role," said Karunaratne.
Unfortunately Mendis and Jayasundera were unable to put that advice into action with the side slumping to 29-2 before the opener combined with fellow 'veteran' Dinesh Chandimal also playing his 24th Test, to patiently rebuild Sri Lanka's innings.

The opening batsman, who had a previous reputation as a dashing player who needlessly gave his wicket away chasing the shot that was not quite on, buckled down with Chandimal and thwarted, then frustrated New Zealand's attack.

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