Colombo: Daniel Vettori's 140 runs went in vain as Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 96 runs in the second Test and swept the series 2-0 on the final day on Sunday.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claimed five wickets as the Kiwis, set an improbable victory target of 494 runs, were bowled out for 397 in their second innings just before tea on the fifth day.
The Black Caps entered Day 5 at a precarious 182-6, but Vettori and Jacob Oram delayed the inevitable with a 124-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
Sri Lanka had to overcome spirited batting by Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori and heavy rain during the lunch break that delayed resumption by 35 minutes to build on their 202-run win in the first Test at Galle.
Scorecard: 2nd Test: Sri Lanka Vs New Zealand
Vettori brought up his fourth Test hundred and was out last with a career-best 140, improving on his previous best of 137 not out.
The left-hander frustrated the Sri Lankans for more than four hours in which he faced 189 deliveries and hit 16 boundaries, before he was last man to be dismissed.
Tillakaratne Dilshan put the breaks on the Black Caps' fightback, snaring Oram for 56 runs in the first session caught by Kumar Sangakkara at extra-cover. Oram faced 148 balls and hit five boundaries in brining up his sixth Test half-century.
The partnership between Vettori and Oram came in 228 balls and came after New Zealand coach Andy Moles on Saturday accused his players for getting out after good starts and not learning from their mistakes. He called for some "character and fight" from his batsmen on the final day.
Later, Vettori combined with tailender Iain O'Brien for another valuable 69-run partnership before Herath forced an edge off O'Brien for a catch to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardena. O'Brien faced 75 balls for his 12 runs.
New Zealand also enjoyed some luck after Vettori survived an edge to slip, then when Herath broke the stumps without the ball in his hand with Vettori still some distance to complete a run.
Herath grabbed four wickets on Saturday to carry Sri Lanka within sight of victory and has the team's best figures of 5-139. Muralitharan picked up three wickets for 85.
Sri Lanka declared its second innings on 311-5, helped largely by an imperious 109 from Sangakkara. New Zealand was bowled out for 234 in the first innings in reply to Sri Lanka's 416.
Sri Lanka won the first Test by 202 runs.