Sri Lanka ease to win over New Zealand


Sri Lanka kept their one-day international series against New Zealand alive with an eight-wicket win in Nelson on Thursday.

After being thrashed in the opening two ODIs, the tourists responded in style at Saxton Oval on New Year's Eve.

They reduced New Zealand to 276-8 after the hosts, without captain Brendon McCullum, elected to bat first.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (91) and Danushka Gunathilaka (65) gave Sri Lanka a flying start and they claimed victory with 22 balls to spare.

Lahiru Thirimanne (unbeaten 87) also helped the tourists reduce the series deficit to 2-1 as they finished at 277-2.

The Black Caps, welcoming back star batsman Kane Williamson, lost wickets at far too regular intervals in their innings.

Tom Latham (42) and Williamson (59) put on 60 for the second wicket, but that was their team's biggest partnership.

In-form opener Martin Guptill (30), Henry Nicholls (20), Mitchell Santner (38) and Doug Bracewell (30) all made starts without capitalising.

Dushmantha Chameera (2-38) was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers.

Dropped chances in the field were the only downside for the tourists, including Gunathilaka getting hit in the face when he dropped Bracewell on the boundary.

New Zealand's openers took the game away from Sri Lanka in the opening two games, but roles were reversed on Thursday.

An aggressive Gunathilaka and Dilshan reached 92-0 through 11 overs.

The former fell when he guided Mitchell McClenaghan (1-39) straight to Ross Taylor at slip and Dilshan was run out nine shy of a ton.

Chandimal was given a life by Ish Sodhi, who dropped a sitter, before seeing Sri Lanka to victory.