Dambulla: Sri Lanka clinched victory by three-wickets over New Zealand in their Tri-Series match in Dambulla and helped India reclaim the second spot in the ICC ODI rankings.
Opener Upal Tharanga(70) played an anchor role with a top score to lay a solid platform for the Sri Lankans, taking them closer to victory target. Kumar Sangakkara(48) made a good contribution as well coming in at No 2 after early loss of other opener Tillakaratne Dilshan in the third over. Tharanga and Sangakkara put together a solid second wicket partnership of 85 runs before Sangakkara was dismissed by Scott Styris.
New Zealand did pull back strongly with four quick wickets in the space of three overs including Upal Tharanga's wicket around the 37th-40th over mark but Samaraweera coming in at No 5 played a gritty innings to guide the hosts past the Kiwi total. Samaraweera finished at 36 unbeaten off 38 balls with Kapugedara at the other end with 9.1 overs still left to spare.
The Sri Lankan bowlers in the first innings had put up an impressive show to restrict the Black Caps to 192 allout in the second match of the tri-series in Dambulla.
All the Sri Lankan bowlers had been impressive throughout the innings.
Fast bowler Lasith Malinga lead the attack with his deadly yorkers not letting any easy runs for the tourists. He finished up with impressive figures of 3-35 in his full spell of 10 overs.
Kulasekara got the final wicket of TJ Southee in the 49th over.
Nathan Mccullum had offered stiff resistance coming in at No 7 as he scored 36 of 63 balls to help take the Black Caps total close to 200 run mark, just when it looked like the Black Caps would be bowled out for a cheap score after quick blows in the middle order. But before he could stretch the New Zealand total further, he was dismissed by Ajantha Mendis in the 45th over.
Called in for his second spell of bowling by skipper Sangakkara, Malinga had struck in his very first over to dismiss Hopkins(11) and then followed it up with the wicket of Daryl Tuffey in the very next delivery.
In the mid-overs after a promising partnership between Styris and Watling, Rangana Herath had struck to provide a major breakthrough for the Lankans to dismiss all-rounder Scott Styris. After both of them fell, the tourist never looked comfortable.
Debutant BJ Watling had scored his maiden half century opening the innings for the Kiwis after a rather shaky start for the tourists but he was dismissed by Mathews soon after Styris's fall.
Angelo Mathews had earlier struck twice to remove dangerous Taylor and rookie Williamson(0) who failed to make a mark for the second time in the series.
Watling and Scott Styris had put up a strong fight to take the Black caps out from a possible slump after a poor start, after New Zealand had lost three wickets in the first 11 overs of the innings.
Earlier, fast bowler Lasith Malinga had got an early breakthrough in his very first over to provide a great start for the hosts.
New Zealand captain Ross Taylor had won the toss and has elected to bat first in the tri-series second ODI in Dambulla.
The New Zealand side has made couple of changes to their team which played the opening match against India. Opener Peter Ingram had made way for Nathan Mccullum.
Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, Tri-series - Scorecard
New Zealand will be hoping to keep their momentum going after a solid win against the Indians in the opening match.
Sri Lanka on the other hand will be looking for a good start in the tournament and hoping to stop the Kiwi momentum.