Dilshan And Mathews Partnership Hands Sri Lanka Victory

Dilshan And Mathews Partnership Hands Sri Lanka Victory
Dilshan And Mathews Partnership Hands Sri Lanka Victory
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 200-3 (Dilshan 102no) beat
New Zealand 188-6 (Watling 96no) by 7 wickets
Third One-Day International, Pallekele

A fine century by Tillakaratne Dilshan guided Sri Lanka to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in a rain-reduced third One-Day International in Pallekele.

Chasing a Duckworth/Lewis adjusted target of 197 in 33 overs, Dilshan and Angelo Mathews put on an unbroken fourth-wicket stand worth 127 to win the game with 11 balls to spare.

Dilshan cracked 102 in 95 balls and Mathews 54 in 47 balls to help their side recover from a score of 73 for three in the 15th over.

New Zealand had earlier made a poor start but themselves been rescued by BJ Watling's career-best score of 96 not out, closing on 188 for six in 33 overs.

In between several rain showers and delays, New Zealand lost Rob Nicol (7), Brendon McCullum (13), Ross Taylor (7) and Jacob Oram (2) to slip to 49 for four as Sri Lanka started strongly.

Watling, however, stood firm, hitting 12 boundaries and eventually found support from James Franklin's 26 and Nathan McCullum's 22 not out in 18 balls to haul New Zealand up to a competitive score; he and McCullum adding 71 for the seventh wicket in the last seven overs once Kane Williamson had fallen for five.

Jeevan Mendis was the pick of the bowlers with two for 34 and he ran out Taylor while Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Mathews took one wicket apiece.

So to the run chase and as the clouds cleared and the skies darkened, Upul Tharanga (10) hooked straight to Oram on the boundary in Tim Southee's first over.

Kumar Sangakkara (15) was then caught by Taylor off Kyle Mills and when Mahela Jayawardene was caught by Oram off Nathan McCullum for five, the home side were under huge pressure.

Dilshan and Mathews refused to bow despite the required run-rate almost always staying ahead of the run-rate they were able to achieve.

Safe in the knowledge that a batting Power Play of three overs would be available to them, they sensibly rotated the strike and helped themselves to boundaries when they could.

The half-century partnership came up in 51 balls and then they accelerated, reaching 100 in 87 balls. The Power Play was taken four overs from the end and Dilshan opened it by smacking Oram for four, then hit Southee for six as he powered to a 14th ODI century and a first against New Zealand.

12 runs in the 30th and 13 runs in the 14th left them needing one to win in the final two overs and Mathews obliged at the earliest opportunity by slicing the ball through point for a boundary.

Sri Lanka have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series with two matches remaining on 10th and 12th November in Hambantota.

© Cricket World 2012

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