Black Caps lose third ODI amid more rain
They haven’t even played a full match yet but in golf parlance Sri Lanka have already taken the one-day international cricket series with New Zealand into a state of dormie.
The hosts are now 2-0 up with two matches to play and the best New Zealand can do is halve the series, though they’ll need a bit more luck than what they’ve had.
Aside from dropping a catch, a couple of fielding lapses and the odd sloppy over, the tourists didn’t do a lot wrong in today’s seven-wicket loss in Kandy; perhaps their biggest sin was losing the toss with the threat of more rain in Sri Lanka’s wet season.
The match was reduced to 33 overs per side but only after New Zealand, who were sent into bat given the chasing team is generally advantaged in rain-affected matches, had faced 14 overs under the assumption it would be the full 50 overs per side.
But there were two delays for rain and then a wet ground early in the innings and when play finally resumed the tourists had to get a wriggle on – they were 41-2 after 14 overs and only had a further 19 overs to bat.
They forced the issue nicely, though, and led by wicketkeeper Watling who scored an excellent unbeaten 96 from 88 balls opening the innings, they piled on 147 runs from those 19 overs to post 188-6.
The target was revised to 197 from 33 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis system, and Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother at 73-3 in the 15th over with Upal Tharanga (10), Kumar Sangakkara (15) and captain Mahela Jayawardene (5) all out of the game.
But one of the big three remained, and Tillakaratne Dilshan essentially won the game for his team by scoring a brilliant unbeaten 102 from 95 balls, a perfectly paced knock rather than the high octane innings we’ve come to expect from him.
He shared in an unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 127 with allrounder Angelo Mathews, who ended 54 not out.
New Zealand didn’t bowl that badly but batting was easy and the Sri Lankans milked the singles superbly to always keep in touch with the asking rate.
Rob Nicol dropped Dilshan in the gully when 39 runs were needed at a run-a-ball – he would expect to have taken the catch – and when Sri Lanka enforced their three-over powerplay they quickly finished it off, winning with 11 balls to spare.
Earlier, Brendon McCullum returned to the lineup today but as a batsman only, replacing Tom Latham, while Watling continued to press his case for a more permanent role with a superb unbeaten knock.
He got his chance in the second match when McCullum was forced out with a back injury and made a tidy 55 batting at No 3, but he was more impressive today.
Watling was involved in two key partnerships; 56 from 51 balls with James Franklin (26 from 25) and then an unbeaten 71 from just 36 balls for the seventh wicket with Nathan McCullum (22 not out from 18).
He took the senior role and though not noted for his strikerate, the 27-year-old proved his versatility with a cracking end to the innings, finding the boundary 12 times in total and falling four runs short of a maiden ODI ton in his 14th match.
New Zealand blasted 83 runs from the last eight overs, but it wasn’t enough.
The fourth match is in Hambantota on Saturday night (10pm NZT).
Scoreboard for the third one-day international between Sri Lanka and New Zealand:
R NICOL c Jayawardene b Malinga 7
B WATLING not out 96
B McCULLUM lbw Mathews 13
R TAYLOR run out 7
J ORAM lbw Mendis 2
J FRANKLIN b Kulasekara 26
K WILLIAMSON c Mathews b Mendis 5
N McCULLUM not out 22
Extras (1b 2lb 7w) 10
Six wickets for 188
Fall: 9 (Nicol), 31 (B McCullum), 43 (Taylor), 49 (Oram), 105 (Franklin), 117 (Williamson).
Bowling: L Malinga 7-0-40-1, N Kulasekara 7-1-45-1 (1w), A Mathews 5-0-15-1 (1w), T Perera 4-0-22-0 (1w), J Mendis 5-0-34-2 (4w), T Dilshan 2-0-9-0, R Herath 3-0-20-0.
W Tharanga c Oram b Southee 10
T Dilshan not out 102
K Sangakkara c Taylor b Mills 15
M Jayawardene c Oram b N McCullum 5
A Mathews not out 54
Extras (7lb 6w 1nb) 14
Three wickets for 200
Fall: 30 (Tharanga), 65 (Sangakkara), 73 (Jayawardene)
Bowling: K Mills 6.1-0, 35-1, T Boult 5-0-29-0, T Southee 7-0-50-1, J Oram 7-1-43-0, N McCullum 5-0-28-1, J Franklin 1-0-8-0.
Result: Sri Lanka win by seven wickets
Series: Sri Lanka 2-0
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