New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Christchurch December 26, 2015

Henry, top order hand Sri Lanka drubbing


New Zealand 191 for 3 (Guptill 79, McCullum 55) beat Sri Lanka 188 (Siriwardana 66, Kulasekara 58, Henry 4-49, Bracewell 3-37) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Highlights - NZ clinical in seven-wicket win

Sri Lanka would have thought of turning their fortunes around in the ODIs after losing both the Tests and would have banked on the absence of New Zealand's pace spearheads Tim Southee and Trent Boult. To add to that, Kane Williamson was ruled out of the first ODI with a knee niggle. But Matt Henry reduced the visitors to 27 for 5, and even though they went on to post 188, their hopes of defending it were quashed by a merciless opening stand of 108 in 10.1 overs between Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill. New Zealand chased it down easily thereafter, in 21 overs, despite losing the openers and Tom Latham.

It was Henry's opening spell of 7-1-26-4 that threw Sri Lanka off track after they opted to bat, before fifties from Milinda Siriwardana and Nuwan Kulasekara pushed the score past 150 but they were eventually bowled out in 47 overs. Henry finished with 4 for 49 and Doug Bracewell's 3 for 37 put the brakes on Sri Lanka's late charge, before the hosts' top order led them to their seventh win against Sri Lanka from their nine ODIs played in the last 12 months.

Milne started with a dangerous combination of precision and pace, regularly clocking in more than 145kmh, and had Danushka Gunathilaka caught behind in the third over even though New Zealand had to use a review after the umpire failed to pick the outside edge. And once Tillakaratne Dilshan top-edged Henry to midwicket, the pacer took three more in seven deliveries. Thirimanne's slow start ended when Henry swung the ball in to trap him lbw. He then pitched the next ball shorter and extracted Mathew's outside edge with some outswing to second slip where Tom Latham took a low catch.

With only four more runs added to the score, Henry also made Dinesh Chandimal poke outside off for another catch to the slip cordon and Sri Lanka had lost half their side. To avoid a complete collapse, Siriwardana pulled things back with the lower order. He first found a useful partner in Chamara Kapugedera for more than half an hour to score 38 runs together. Kapugedera defended patiently for most of his 24-ball stay before he gave a straightforward catch to cover.

Kulasekara and Siriwardana combined at 65 for 6 to stage a comeback with the biggest partnership of the innings - 98 runs. As the balls became older, the duo hardly faced any troubles in rotating the strike and Siriwardana was also helped by debutant Henry Nicholls, who dropped the left-handed batsman on 10 at deep midwicket.

Kulasekara displayed his intent to gather boundaries right from the start. He dispatched Milne in the 23rd over for a six to the midwicket boundary and hammered more boundaries whenever opportunities arose. A slog-sweep against Mitchell Santner and a cover drive drilled in consecutive overs frustrated New Zealand further.

Siriwardana, playing his ninth ODI, collected quick runs by using the pull effectively and also unfurled some crunchy cover drives during his career-best score to marshall the stand and the innings. Kulasekara nearly caught up with Siriwardana by bringing up his fourth ODI fifty with his fourth six but both batsmen were dismissed soon after in quick succession. Once Siriwardana was removed by Bracewell, Kulasekara edged one off Mitchell McClenaghan for Luke Ronchi to complete a stunning one-handed catch. The last-wicket pair of Suranga Lakmal and Dushmantha Chameera vexed the hosts a little more before Bracewell struck again.

McCullum and Guptill went about the chase in usual fashion - attack irrespective of the opposition and target. They stamped their authority by smashing nine runs from the first over and wreaked havoc to cross 100 before the first Powerplay could end. McCullum made room consistently to bludgeon drives and unleash his trademark short-arm pulls, while Guptill relied more on drives and timing, instead of brute force. They punished the bowlers the most from the fourth to ninth overs by hammering 80 runs with the help of 11 fours and four sixes, with no bias to any particular part of the ground.

Mathews brought himself on in the seventh over and McCullum pulled him for six first ball. Ajantha Mendis came on for the next over and McCullum dispatched three more fours to complete his 23-ball fifty. Guptill also awakened his force in the next over; he came out of the crease for a consecutive four and six against Siriwardana. McCullum eventually fell to a leading edge skied to backward point but that could only delay the result, not change it.

Guptill also brought up his 39-ball fifty and accumulated another 22 runs only in boundaries before holing out to long-off, only four balls after Latham was bowled for 18. With only 25 more needed, Nicholls scored 23 on his home ground and finished things off with back-to-back fours.

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bill on December 28, 2015, 1:52 GMT

    If Kane is made captain and can unite the side and keep his batting momentum going, we get even stronger i reckon. Move him to 4. Taylor @ 3 Guptil really making the spot his and you just hope Latham can hold his spot with runs consistently. That solves a very longstanding weakness of the side we have had. A brittle top order and an over reliance on the middle order to bail the team out of trouble. We just won by 10 wickets! How often have we said that in a sentence?! Not very. Knowing those 4 hold the bulk of scoring responsibility means we can be inventive and experimental with our allrounders, spin options, and allow guys to really play with freedom down the order. The bowling looks very solid, without being spectacular. Southee, Boult, Henry, McClenaghan, Bracewell, Milne. Very impressive array of medium quicks to call upon and spin options also. The sooner this team challenges in another cup final and this time wins it, the sooner teams can move to that entitlement champions need.

  • Pinidiya on December 27, 2015, 7:28 GMT

    In 12m, SL suffered 8 humiliating defeats from 12 tests, 8 series defeats in all formats including WC flop & facing the 9th. Ultimate efforts of, Sanga, MJ, Dilly could not turn the tide of unjustified selections happened during this period, as never seen before.

    SL's last Test series win against a formidable side (Pk) was in Aug 2014, thanks to the highest batting contributor U.Tharanga (92 & 45) & bowling of Herath in the decider. Test-Winner UT was dropped for next series V NZ in Dec & blackout extended until Jul 2015 (restricting him to just 2 random Tests for 2015).This is how the current system works in SL.

    World's MOST Productive No1 ODI openers with Highest Number of 100+ scores, <4000 b:

    Rank # 2: U. Tharanga.;batting_positionval1=batting_position;class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=hundreds;qualmax1=4000;qualmin1=1;qualval1=balls_faced;runsmin1=50;runsval1=runs;template=results;type=batting

  • Pinidiya on December 27, 2015, 7:08 GMT

    SL desperately need a solid top-order batter capable of playing long innings to accumulate runs in both formats. Before going any further, it is high-time to look at the fate of World's 2nd Most Consistent ODI Ton maker & 50+ score Making accumulator, among No-1 Openers in history (U.Tharanga). Strangely he was discarded in Jul 2013 by selectors, to accommodate Kusal Perera who ended up with 27Av wasting 49 ODIs. SL persisted with KJP for over 2y, despite 19 of his 49 ings ended up with single-digit scores lasted under 10 b (19 ing -63 runs- 3.3 Av)!

    World's MOST Productive No1 ODI openers with Highest Number of 50+ scores, under 4000 b:

    Rank # 2 : Tharanga -38 x 50plus (13 x100 -25x50) -3166 r -102.12 Av -3815 b - 82.98 SR;batting_positionval1=batting_position;class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=innings;qualmax1=4000;qualmin1=1;qualval1=balls_faced;runsmin1=50;runsval1=runs;template=results;type=batting

  • Roshan on December 27, 2015, 6:38 GMT

    Well for those having a go at SL on their overseas performances; eat this ; - Test series win over Eng IN England in 2015 in swing friendly early summer ( note : India went there two months later when swing was much less and got absolutely thrashed) - only 4 dropped catches off a game saving/ turning double hundred by Williamson prevented SL from tying the series against NZ IN New Zealand early this year. - the World cup semis of 2003 (IN bouncy pacie South Africa) & finals of 2007 IN the Caribbean. - of course 'the' most convincing world cup winning run in 1996

  • Dinesh on December 27, 2015, 5:09 GMT

    Dhanushka G . was selected upon his recent performance in Local ODI series results. Go to the following link and see who are the real performers in domestic tournament.;type=tournament

    Some reputed openers (as they say over and over again) are not even in 1st 10 list unfortunately.

  • Heramb on December 27, 2015, 3:41 GMT

    For all those SL fans lamenting that their team seems going downhill like WI and Zimbabwe should look back at the 1st half of 2014,when SL was winning almost everything that was on offer including the Test and ODI series in Bangladesh followed by marquee tournaments like the Asia Cup and T20 WC also in Bangladesh. SL then embarked on their most successful tour of England beating the hosts in all 3 formats including their maiden Test series triumph in England.A Test and ODI series win against Pakistan followed at home interrupted only by a Test and ODI series defeat to the visiting SA side. SL has seen a spate of series defeats starting from their home series against Pak in June but those came despite having Herath and Sangakkara in the XI(Herath was dropped in Pallekele while Sanga retired before the 3rd Test against India at the SSC).With the impending retirements of Herath and Dilshan along with inconsistent performances of Thirimanne and T Kaushal,SL fans are understandably worried.

  • Rob on December 27, 2015, 3:00 GMT

    Why can't Sri Lanka follow New Zealand plan for their ODI team. Four fast bowlers who can consistently bowl 130 plus and a good spinner. These are bouncy wickets that require bowlers who can bowl real fast. Chameera should be the leader of the pack followed by Pradeep, may be Lakmal and another fast bowler. Mendis happens to bowl on or two loose bowls very over and has to be replaced asap. Senanayake is a good replacement. Only when one of the five get hit out badly then the part time bowlers are introduced. Not otherwise. Good luck

  • manjula on December 27, 2015, 2:57 GMT

    SL bowling far better than I thought. It is the batting failing miserably. Batting failed in tests and ODIs.

    Matthew's captaincy also a subject of concern. He doesn't have the experience. Bowling rotation is a very good indication of that.

    However, SL have fixed two of their previous issues. That is fielding (can improve) and bowling.

  • Satish on December 27, 2015, 2:19 GMT

    Nice set of excuses by SL fans! Love it! Fact is even with so called greats, they never do well overseas so why is this surprising!

  • Kasun on December 27, 2015, 1:02 GMT

    This is embarrassing. It's only an internal investigation could find the problems and answers. We could argue too much politics, bad captaincy, worst selection and coaching. What my assumptions are players don't respond to Matthews or he is not demanding their certain roles and responsibilities or Matthews lacking leadership charisma. He is doing fine when players are performing but he has to turn things around when the chips are down. That's the leadership man. Only Matthews shall understand and let someone else lead the team. We need an aggressive captain, not someone who is waiting for something to happen. You could draw many examples from yesterday game. Not every great players can be leaders. He is a great player but I think he is lacking leadership qualities. Please prove me wrong.

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