Openers, Prasanna deliver series-leveling win
Sri Lanka A 291 for 9 (Karunaratne 81, Perera 65, Milne 5-61) beat New Zealand A 196 for 7 (Elliott 63, Devcich 36, Prasanna 5-38) by 44 runs (D/L method)
Openers Kusal Perera and Dimuth Karunaratne provided substance and impetus to Sri Lanka A's innings once again, this time to happier effect, as the hosts leveled the one-day series with New Zealand A, in Pallekele. Legbreak bowler Seekkuge Prasanna's 5 for 38 then ensured the visitors would not threaten the target.
Kusal struck his second aggressive half-century in as many matches, while Karunaratne followed up a ton from the first ODI with 81 from 105 balls on Tuesday. Their 108-run stand became the platform for Sri Lanka's 291 for 6, before that target was revised for the visitors, who lost ten overs from the chase due to rain. They eventually fell short of the new total of 241 by 44 runs.
Tearaway Adam Milne took his first five-wicket haul in List A cricket, but before he bore down on Sri Lanka's middle order, Kusal's 61-ball 65 had set the hosts off apace. The scoring rate slowed somewhat after his demise as Angelo Perera contributed a relatively unhurried 36 alongside Karunaratne, but Chaturanga de Silva ensured his side achieved the challenging total they had promised early in the innings, when he struck 36 from 25.
Rain after 6.5 overs of New Zealand's innings stole an over from the reply, but bad light after 40 overs cut a further nine overs. New Zealand had begun with a 43-run opening stand, but four wickets between the eighth and 16th overs forced a deceleration that would prove definitive.
Grant Elliott made 63 from 75, but his team-mates continued to surrender ground to Sri Lanka's phalanx of slow bowlers, led by Prasanna, who took 5 for 38. Sri Lanka required only seven overs of pace bowling in the 40-over innings.
New Zealand managed 196, and the teams will now play the decider in Dambulla on Thursday.