New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Dunedin January 23, 2015

Ronchi, Elliott shatter records and flatten Sri Lanka


New Zealand 360 for 5 (Ronchi 170*, Elliott 104*) beat Sri Lanka 252 (Dilshan 116, Boult 4-44) by 108 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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A record-shattering sixth-wicket stand between Luke Ronchi and Grant Elliott yanked New Zealand out of the mire at 93 for 5 and sent them hurtling to 360 for 5, in what began as a counterattack and then grew into a gargantuan, unstoppable thing of terror. Their unbeaten stand of 267 off 180 balls was the highest ever for the sixth wicket, and is the second for any wicket for New Zealand.

In response, Sri Lanka managed 15 fewer runs than Ronchi and Elliot did together, and were 108 shy of the hosts' total, despite a spirited 116 from 106 balls for Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Ronchi was chief architect of the mauling, clobbering 170 from 99 balls, murdering anything pitched up and never failing to slam the short balls over the leg-side fence. Rarely did he fail to execute the strokes he attempted, no matter how audacious. His maiden ton was scored from 74 balls. The next 70 runs were slammed off 25. He hit nine sixes and 14 fours in all.

Elliott was slightly more reserved in the early phase of their partnership but once he had set himself a foundation with 25 runs off 35 balls, his strike rate moved smoothly upwards, even if he sought to give Ronchi more of the bowling. By the end of the innings, Elliott was creaming the dross Sri Lanka served up at the death almost as cleanly as his partner was. His 104 not out came from 96 deliveries; he then returned with the ball to deliver nine pinpoint overs that conceded only 44 and claimed two wickets.

Sri Lanka were indisciplined with the ball to begin with, despite the seam movement on offer, but became truly pathetic by the end of the innings. Suranga Lakmal missed his lengths more often than he hit them towards the death, traveling for 93 in his 10 overs. Nuwan Kulasekara nabbed two wickets with the new ball, but was almost as bad with the older one. He disappeared for 73 from his full quota.

Lasith Malinga's absence was keenly felt at the death, but Angelo Mathews was also missing, thanks to a calf niggle. Acting captain Lahiru Thirimanne took two wickets with his seam-up deliveries, but was otherwise disappointing in the field, shelling difficult chances off Ronchi and Elliott once each. Elliott was 47 when the diving chance at short cover went down. Ronchi was already at 167 when the overhead chance, running back from point, was spilled in the last over.

Ronchi began his charge with two of the simplest sixes he will ever hit. Jeevan Mendis dropped the ball halfway down the pitch on successive deliveries, and was walloped over cow corner in the 25th over. The boundaries were scored almost at will from then on.

Sachithra Senanayake's introduction to the attack had been delayed slightly, thanks to the earlier success of the seamers, but he was picked off effortlessly by Ronchi and Elliott, who used the sweep to excellent effect against his leg-stump line. They occasionally came down the pitch to the spinners, but were largely content to punish the bad balls - of which there were many - from the crease.

Grant Elliott scored a hundred and then took the first two Sri Lankan wickets © Getty Images

Ronchi and Elliott strolled past their individual half-centuries, and by the 40th over, had catapulted New Zealand to 238 for 5. The last seven overs were a blur of boundaries as Sri Lanka failed emphatically to execute a wide-yorker plan, their quicks routinely delivering knee-high full tosses that the batsmen hammered down the ground or slapped to the off-side fence. The pair struck 122 runs from the last 10 overs to complete one of the most emphatic lower-order comebacks in a tour brimming with them.

That Sri Lanka allowed themselves to slip to such a woeful position will now be a source of extreme frustration in the dressing room. At 20 overs, New Zealand were 93 for 5. The visitors perhaps hoped to keep the opposition to 175 at that stage. They ended up getting twice that amount, and Sri Lanka did not get another breakthrough. They were repeatedly thwarted by mammoth lower-middle order partnerships in the Tests, and each of the ODIs they have lost so far has featured substantial stands for the fifth, sixth and seventh wickets.

Thirimanne and Dilshan sunk balls into getting in and setting a foundation in the chase, making clear Sri Lanka's plan to conserve wickets and attack in the latter half of the innings. There were flashes of aggression in the mandatory Powerplay, like in the ninth over when Thirimanne pulled Tim Southee for four then picked him up to deposit him in the bleachers beyond wide long-on next ball. The New Zealand bowlers were more accurate than the opposition had been, however, and fewer loose balls abounded. Thirimanne eventually fell for 45 off 65 balls, pulling a gentle Elliott half-tracker to fine leg, immediately after a drinks break.

Sri Lanka perhaps had a glimmer of hope while Dilshan was at the crease. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were not at their fluent best, particularly on such a flat batting strip, but Dilshan scythed his way through the innings at close to a run a ball, and had Sri Lanka requiring 192 runs from the last 20 overs, with eight wickets still in hand.

He reached his 20th ODI ton - and his third in the last five innings - off 95 balls, before Sri Lanka were again scuppered by the batting Powerplay. Jayawardene was dropped by a backpedalling Taylor at fine leg on 25, but was out next over anyway, letting a Trent Boult yorker bowl him through his legs as he attempted to scoop it over his shoulder. When Dilshan fell miscuing one to mid-off three balls later, Sri Lanka were effectively beaten. The last eight wickets tumbled within eight overs, and the visitors were bowled out for 252, with more than six overs still to play.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abhishek on January 25, 2015, 21:15 GMT

    just 1 or 2 years good performance of Newland n people saying that Wc finalist same for why you all forgot that asian are consistent to simi n finalists in icc tournaments from 92 to 2011 sl is simi finalist don't criticise for a useless series bst f luck for simi our final fan from (asia)

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2015, 0:54 GMT

    @ISSAC DAVIS - there is nothing wrong in having different opinions. it's a very true fact that Taylor has not showed up very very often when NZ needed him to.. McCullum wasn't really consistent but he has stepped up more often for the team's need than Taylor.. I've seen this happen repeatedly.. he has scored some runs but it's just stats and they don't speak the truth about him.. I won't call him world class.. whereas McCullum, Williamson are!! He is scoring today as I write this and again.. it's a very Taylor-like come back.. it will fizzle out sooner than you think... Indian bowlers haven't managed wickets outside the country and so.. he managed a purple patch!! Mentally he is not as prepared and that doesn't mean he isn't talented..

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2015, 17:05 GMT

    Sri Lanka has 4 games to go before that first game in WC. Forget about this series. There problem is their top 4 can`t bat for 35-40 overs. They have to play their bit and pieces all rounders ( Mathews, Jeewan & Thisara ) You can`t drop any of those players, as long as Chandimal or Dimuth play like Miller or Raina ( What chance is their for them to bat like those guys ) You can`t play them unless their is injury for other players. Jeewan should bat at 5 not Matthews ( he`s a proper batsmen not a slogger ( which is the role he plays now in the team) If all the All rounders improve by the first game, they can play 2 propers spinners and two proper fast bowlers. Please don`t play Lakmal total rubbish, when the opposition teams have power hitters. Think about bowling that crap to De villiers or Warner 130 - 140 without swinging the ball. Lakmal, Dimuth & Chandimal should carry drinks or comfort other players all the time. Not playing in the 11.

  • Lester on January 24, 2015, 13:24 GMT

    Sri-Lanka and other asian sides that depend on spin haven't got a change in this WC if the pitches are prepared with a bit of grass on them like this was. It totally nullifies spin..SL in particular have no real pace men so cannot contain any batting side in Australasia. They have some success early on with their seamers if conditions are right otherwise it's massive scores from the opposition.

    NZ might look good against this SL attack on unfavorable pitches, breaking records every match, but let's see how they go against sides with pace

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2015, 11:05 GMT

    @Anand Kannan, are you drunk? Ross Taylor, overrated? Sure, he has had a lean run this summer, but he did score pretty well against Pakistan in the UAE ODIs. Besides, he has scored runs in quarter final at last World Cup to help NZ set something to defend, as well as blasting Pakistan out of Pallekele. His method is to accumulate early, then finish with a flurry. It has been deserting him lately, as he has had a couple of bad shots, a couple of good balls and is out of nick. However, he did score 3 consecutive centuries last year, and averages around 40. Unless of course you mean he's overrated because people speak of him in the same light as Martin Crowe.He has thumped some pretty decent bowling attacks and I'll back him to do it at least once before the WC is over. Wouldn't be surprised if he smacks England into Wellington Harbour....

  • VIJAY on January 24, 2015, 8:11 GMT

    @KAYS789...I wont consider SA & NZ teams are strong contenders in WC,both are yet to play a final of WC,both choke in semi finals...both cant handle pressure very glad if they prove me wrong...but Australia,India,WI,SL played maximum number of finals of ICC events,Aus & India are different set of teams,Aussies played 6 finals & won 4...India played 3 & won 2(1983,2011), SL won 1 out of 3 finals...but England, NZ & SA have not won any WC till now...If we consider the performance of these teams in ICC events in last 10 years, Aussies, India, SL are clearly ahead of all other teams,both India & SL are facing temporary set backs now, they were in similar situation even before, all they required is momentum...I consider Aussies as the only strong contender among teams you mentioned cz they learned the art of playing in pressure situations,no team matches to their performance in crunch situations,yesterday also they showed it

  • Narabavi on January 24, 2015, 7:56 GMT

    try thisara perera as an opener !

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2015, 7:27 GMT

    That was one heck of an innings by Ronchi.. If a team gets to 350+ from being 120 for 5 in an ODI.. that team needs to show more consistency.. Guptill has incredible talent but he fails to show up often. Taylor is overrated in so many ways.. time and again he'd be saving his place by smashing his way back to form. I can write on stone, he won't be there once when the team needs him the most.. Williamson is pure class and should score heavily, that would ensure a good WC for NZ. There's a lot to like about this team.. Elliot was an average player but even he looks good now.. with Anderson playing a superb winning knock, the team composition looks pretty good.. they need to learn the art of winning key moments in important games else they could lose easily.. this is going to be an even contest... no team is too stronger than the other.. Aus,SA,NZ,Ind,Pak,WI,SL - Would love to see any team other than Aus lifting the WC!!

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2015, 7:23 GMT

    ....and we let him go! I wonder if we can tempt him back.

  • Ashfaq on January 24, 2015, 6:32 GMT

    My liking for this kiwi team is increasing day by day.They are a beauty to watch