Rain dashes New Zealand’s hopes
Hambantota, Sri Lanka - New Zealand's hopes of posting a consolation win against Sri Lanka were shattered by rain as the fifth and final one-day international was called off after 28.3 overs in Hambantota on Monday.
Sri Lanka won the five-match series 3-0, with the first and last one-dayers abandoned due to rain.
New Zealand were strongly placed to register their first win of the series as they reduced Sri Lanka to 123-8, with fast bowler Tim Southee taking three wickets to put the hosts under pressure.
Southee, who finished with 3-18 off 5.3 disciplined overs, was brilliantly supported by seamers Andrew Ellis (2-22), Trent Boult (1-23) and Adam Milne (1-17) to give his team a hope of victory.
“The bowlers pitched the ball up and gave us a chance. We knew the rain was going to be around,” said New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor.
“Hopefully, we can have a good couple of days off and look ahead to the Tests. We have made some improvements and we need to get better. Today's a good start.”
Opener Upul Tharanga (60) top-scored for Sri Lanka, cracking eight fours before being caught by wicket-keeper Bradley-John Watling off Southee in the 29th over.
He added 47 for the fifth wicket with skipper Mahela Jayawardene (24), the highest stand of the innings, after four wickets had fallen for 44 runs.
“We are looking forward to the Test series now as we haven't played Test cricket for some time now. We'll try to be as consistent as possible,” said Jayawardene.
Southee did the early damage when he bowled opener Dinesh Chandimal for no score and then had Lahiru Thirimanne caught behind to reduce Sri Lanka to 33-2.
Thirimanne, promoted in the batting order, contributed a 15-ball 17 with three boundaries.
Boult dismissed Angelo Mathews before Milne got his maiden one-day wicket when he had Kumar Sangakkara caught behind for five.
Sri Lanka made two changes from the side that played the last match, bringing in paceman Shaminda Eranga and debutant spinner Akila Dananjaya in place of Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath. New Zealand retained the same side.
Sri Lanka and New Zealand will play a two-Test series starting in Galle on Saturday. - Sapa-AFP