Tillakaratne Dilshan robbed himself of a century chance but nevertheless led the way as Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by eight wickets in the third ODI to stay alive in the five-match series.
Dilshan was run out for 91 seeking a single that was never there, but together with Danushka Gunathilaka’s rapid 65 and 87 not out from Lahiru Thirimanne, he ensured Sri Lanka were always comfortable in their reply to New Zealand’s 276 for eight.
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Gunathilaka and Dilshan were quickly ahead of the run rate – with Gunathilaka smacking three sixes in the first seven overs – as they put on 98 in 12.3 overs before Gunathilaka edged Mitchell McClenaghan to Ross Taylor in the slips.
His 65 came off just 45 balls, with seven fours and four sixes, and his removal proved only a fleeting respite for the Black Caps.
Dilshan brought up his fifty with three consecutive fours off Mitchell Santner in the 20th over, and Sri Lanka had moved past 200 before they lost their second wicket, gifted to New Zealand as Dilshan looked for a single off Kane Williamson but was sent back by Thirimanne – his dive was in vain thanks to an accurate throw from Taylor.
— Sri Lanka Cricket (@OfficialSLC) December 31, 2015
However, Sri Lanka were well on their way to victory by this point, and Thirimanne sealed it when he hit Doug Bracewell for four to make it 277 for two with 22 balls remaining. Dinesh Chandimal was unbeaten on 27 at the other end.
New Zealand, who had won the toss and chosen to bat after bowling first in each of their opening victories, got off to a slow start, scoring only three of the opening three overs.
Though they lost Martin Guptill for 30, they had brought up three figures before Tom Latham was the second man out for 42, and there seemed little reason for concern until Taylor went for a duck, caught in the slips off Jeffrey Vandersay, to leave them on 102 for three.
There was no collapse, but as wickets fell steadily, they were left to rely on their tail to prop up the score, with Bracewell making 30 while Tim Southee was unbeaten on 18 and Adam Milne 17 when the fifty overs were up.
Sri Lanka’s win pulls the series back to 2-1 ahead of the fourth match, again at Nelson, on Saturday.
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