Sri Lanka 287 for 6 (Sangakkara 113, Dilshan 81, Anderson 3-59) beat New Zealand 253 (Williamson 54, Ronchi 47, Eranga 2-31) by 34 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kumar Sangakkara mounted a sleek 21st ODI hundred on Tillakaratne Dilshan's foundation, to shepherd Sri Lanka toward a consolation victory in Wellington. The visitors were hampered by their own wheezing middle order, and managed only 287 for 5 when a total well over 300 had seemed a possibility for much of the innings. Nonetheless, that total proved 34 runs too many for New Zealand, whose lower middle order was characteristically spirited, after the innings had sustained early setbacks. Kane Williamson was their top-scorer with an 83-ball 54.
The defence of Sri Lanka's target was headed up by Shaminda Eranga and Dushmantha Chameera, who claimed three wickets between them and provided the control Sri Lanka had so sorely lacked in the previous six matches. Neither of those bowlers are in Sri Lanka's World Cup squad, however, nor is tearaway debutant Dushmantha Chameera who took two wickets for himself. Nuwan Kulasekara also claimed two scalps.
Sangakkara was flowing from the outset, sending Anderson through the covers on bended knee fifth ball, before settling into a rhythm of steady singles punctuated by legside boundaries off the wayward deliveries. He first set himself a foundation, then pursued a more aggressive tempo, advancing to hammer Kyle Mills over midwicket in the 27th over, before swinging him onto the legside fence again a few balls later.
Dilshan, who had had a 71-run opening stand with Lahiru Thirimanne, was largely content to take runs into the field, instead of attempting the more ambitious strokes. Dilshan and Sangakkara mustered a healthy scoring rate, with Dilshan adding a half-century to the two hundreds he has already hit in the series. Sangakkara reached his own fifty with a tickle to the fine leg fence off Daniel Vettori. The hundred stand came up in the 34th over, but Dilshan was out edging behind for 81 a few balls later, leaving Sri Lanka at 185 for 2.
Mahela Jayawardene was out attempting a cute shot behind the wicket off Tim Southee, before Seekkuge Prasanna and Dinesh Chandimal's cheap dismissals stole further momentum from the innings. Chandimal's 15-ball 5 had been a particularly pained stay, and Sangakkara's scoring also slowed, just as the death overs approached.
Thisara Perera's 20 off 12, which featured a flat, fast six over midwicket, got the scoreboard moving quickly again, before Sangakkara once more took the baton. An emphatic pull off Mitchell McClenaghan took him to triple figures, though the celebrations were muted, and two clever leg-side boundaries in the final over gave the innings a late fillip.
New Zealand's response began poorly when a Kulasekara indipper trapped Martin Guptill in front of the wickets first ball, before Shaminda Eranga dismissed Tom Latham three overs later. Latham had played in place of Brendon McCullum, who was rested for the dead rubber.
Kane Williamson attempted to rebuild, but Ross Taylor departed chopping on a 146kph delivery in Chameera's first international over, before Grant Elliott helped out in a 59-run stand. Williamson progressed smoothly, if more dourly than he has for much of the series. He made his third 50-plus score in four innings, but was out top-edging Dilshan to short fine leg in the 28th over.
The score was 121 for 5, but where Sri Lanka have fallen away after achieving similar situations in matches gone by, they continued to probe for wickets. Corey Anderson's caught behind off Eranga gave Sangakkara his 473rd wicketkeeping dismissal, making him the most prolific gloveman in ODIs. Though Daniel Vettori and Luke Ronchi raised hopes of a New Zealand victory with a 74-run stand as dew began to set in, Sri Lanka regained the ascendancy by dismissing them in quick succession. A few late blows from Mills thinned the deficit, but he was run out for 30 by Kulasekara, and New Zealand were all out by the 46th over.