24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Sri Lanka 131-3 (Sangakkara 42no) beat
New Zealand 131-8 by 7 wickets (D/L)
Fourth One-Day International, Hambantota
A move south away from Pallekele in the centre of Sri Lanka to the southern coastal town of Hambantota didn’t make any difference as far as the weather or New Zealand were concerned. The fourth ODI between them and Sri Lanka was again hugely affected by rain and again it was the hosts who ended up on the winning side.
Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chadimal and Kumar Sangakkara ensured that New Zealand’s meagre total of 131 for eight off 32 overs wasn’t enough. Nuwan Kulasekara and Jeevan Mendis had been the visitors’ chief tormentors, sharing five wickets and making the most of some helpful bowling conditions.
The home side had won the toss and inserted the tourists, with Dinesh Chandimal chosen to replace the rested Tillakaratne Dilshan at the top of their order. New Zealand, meanwhile, handed a debut to Adam Milne at the expense of Kyle Mills, while Andrew Ellis returned to replace Jacob Oram.
Nuwan Kulasekara found the pitch, tinged with green, exactly to his liking and moved the ball both ways through the air and off the seam. He accounted for Rob Nicol, who barely middled a ball during his 24-ball innings of 11, having him caught by Upul Tharanga at mid-on.
The Black Caps were then dealt a further blow when the in-form BJ Watling was run-out for 15 to make it 45 for two in the 12th over. Brendon McCullum timed a couple on his way to a top score of 30, but wickets fell continually throughout the innings - one which had been reduced to 42 overs before a ball was bowled.
Rain arrived again and the two umpires, Ian Gould and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, called for the covers once again in the 30th over of New Zealand’s innings with them struggling on 107 for seven. Jeevan Mendis had picked up three middle-order wickets with his leg-breaks and googlies, including out-foxing Kane Williamson with one of the latter and having him bowled for 21.
Andrew Ellis then clubbed a couple of boundaries for New Zealand after the resumption as they ended their 32 overs with a flourish.
However, it was never going be able to make up for their earlier failings against the moving ball and Sri Lanka eased towards their slightly Duckworth-Lewis-adjusted target of 131.
Upul Tharanga made a sprightly 27 off 28 balls but chopped Tim Southee to Rob Nicol at point, leaving Chandimal and Sangakkara to make the bulk of the runs. The pair added 87 for the second-wicket, with Chandimal departing for 43 off 65 balls a little before the inevitable conclusion.
Sri Lanka eventually won by seven wickets, with Sangakkara unbeaten on 42 off 55 balls, to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. The final game is at the same ground on Monday.
© Cricket World 2012
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