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Sri Lanka stay alive with solid batting performance

Sri Lanka stay alive with solid batting performance
Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 91 runs from 92 deliveries in the third ODI against New Zealand in Nelson.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 277-2 (Dilshan 91) beat
New Zealand 276-8 (Williamson 59) by eight wickets
Third One-Day International in Nelson

Fifties from Danushka Gunathilaka, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne helped Sri Lanka remain alive in the series as they chased down 277 against New Zealand with eight wickets in hand in the third One-Day International in Nelson. 

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka put on a disciplined bowling performance to restrict New Zealand to 276 for eight in their fifty overs with Kane Williamson scoring a lone fifty.

New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first with Williamson leading side due to Brendon McCullum sitting out with a back injury.

After a slow start in the first three overs, Martin Guptill (30) struck a six and three fours in the next four overs.

However, in the eighth over, Guptill was caught at backward point off Dushmantha Chameera (2-38).
New Zealand reached 47 for one in the first 10 overs.

A 60-run stand between Tom Latham (42) and Williamson (59) helped New Zealand rebuild.

Williamson hit Angelo Mathews (0-17) for three boundaries in the 14th over while Latham was on course for a half-century.

Jeffrey Vandersay (2-55) had other plans in store as he struck twice in the 18th over to remove Latham and Ross Taylor (0). New Zealand were reduced to 102 for three.

A few overs later, Williamson was dropped by Chamara Kapugadera at long off. Henry Nicholls (20) joined hands with Williamson to put on a 41-run stand to steady the innings.

Chameera returned in the 28th over and got Nicholls to play onto his stumps. Williamson continued to flourish at the other end and got to his fifty in 65 balls.

An over later, a full toss from Milinda Siriwardana (1-33) lured Williamson to go big, but the New Zealand skipper was caught at mid-on. New Zealand lost half their side with 163 runs on the board.

Luke Ronchi (7) also perished against a short ball from Nuwan Pradeep (2-55) and was caught at mid-wicket.

Mitchell Santner (38) took New Zealand past 200 with a boundary but was run-out in a few minutes later trying to sneak a quick single. A 42-run stand between Adam Milne (17 not out) and Doug Bracewell (30) took New Zealand past 250.

Bracewell fell in the last over but Tim Southee (18 not out) finished the innings with a flourish by hitting two sixes and a four. New Zealand ended up with 276 for eight in their 50 overs.

Pradeep, Chameera and Vandersay shared six wickets equally while Siriwardana had one scalp.

Sri Lanka got off to a fantastic start in their chase and raced to a fifty in just six overs. Gunathilaka (65) was particularly aggressive and struck three sixes and six fours to reach a 28-ball fifty in the eighth over.

As Sri Lanka neared the 100-run mark, Mitchell McClenaghan (1-39) bowled a short delivery that Gunathilaka edged to Taylor in the slips. Sri Lanka got past the 100-run mark in the 14th over.

With three fours off Santner (0-59) in the 20th over, Dilshan went past his fifty from 49 balls. Thirimanne (87 not out) and Dilshan brought up the fifty-run stand for the second wicket in the 23rd over.

At the half-way mark Sri Lanka needed just 113 runs. Thirimanne and Dilshan gave no respite for the New Zealand bowlers and put on a 111-run stand.

Just nine runs short of his hundred, Dilshan tried to sneak in a quick single but was run out while trying to turn back.

Thirimanne got to his fifty in the 35th over and survived a review for caught behind in the next. With Sri Lanka cruising towards an easy win, the substitute fielder Ish Sodhi dropped a simple catch at deep mid-off giving Chandimal a reprieve.

The unbeaten 68-run stand between Chandimal and Thirimanne ensured that Sri Lanka won the match by eight wickets, chasing down the target in 46.2 overs.

McClenaghan was the only wicket-taker. Gunathilaka was awarded the man of the match.

The fourth ODI is scheduled to be played on 2nd January at the same venue again.

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