Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne felt he missed a "golden opportunity" by failing to score a big century against New Zealand on Friday.
Karunaratne was dismissed for 84 by Mitchell Santner on day two of the first Test in Dunedin as the tourists closed on 197-4 in reply to 431.
The 27-year-old has made three centuries in his Test career and was left to rue failing to reach three figures again in batting-friendly conditions at University Oval.
"It's a pretty good wicket. I think I did the really hard work in the first few overs. I just need to bat through the innings and get a big one. I missed out on a golden opportunity," Karunaratne said.
Karunaratne is aware that he needs to take a senior role in a youthful Sri Lanka side with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene having ended their Test careers.
"We just need to play straighter, that's the key to score runs. Now there's no Sangakkara and Mahela, so we have to put our hands up play big knocks," he added.
"I need to bat with the youngsters, rotate the strike and try and get a big one."
Dinesh Chandimal was 83 not out at stumps, to leave Sri Lanka trailing by 234 runs with six wickets in hand.
The Black Caps only added 22 runs to their overnight total as Neil Wagner (7) and Doug Bracewell (47) were dismissed by Nuwan Pradeep (4-112).