Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 3rd ODI, Pallekele November 6, 2012

Dilshan ton gives Sri Lanka 2-0 lead


Sri Lanka 200 for 3 (Dilshan 102*, Mathews 54*) beat New Zealand 188 for 6 (Watling 96*) by seven wickets (D/L Method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Early in the evening, BJ Watling missed his century by four runs but returned to the pavilion with a spring in his step after propelling New Zealand to a competitive total in difficult circumstances, with rain curtailing the game to 33 overs a side. Tillakaratne Dilshan not only passed three figures, but also ensured Sri Lanka passed the finish line without panic in a controlled chase.

The two innings were statistically similar - in terms of strike-rate and number of boundaries hit - but the difference lay in the way they were paced. Watling came alive after he passed fifty, while Dilshan built his innings steadily and pushed on once his partnership with Angelo Mathews had all but ensured Sri Lanka to safety.

New Zealand had scored 188, but the target was revised to 197. The chase began positively with Dilshan finding the gaps early on, but New Zealand hit back in the fifth over. After being caressed for two boundaries through the off side, Tim Southee bowled a bouncer and Upul Tharanga ducked and the ball deflected off his helmet for four. Southee exchanged words with the batsman but Tharanga barely had time to gather himself when he hooked the following ball - dug in short again - awkwardly to fine leg.

The challenge for the New Zealand bowlers was the heavy dew and their seamers did well to keep it tight and not let the likes of Kumar Sangakkara to get away. In the urge to find the boundary, Sangakkara chipped down the track to Kyle Mills and pulled straight to midwicket. It wasn't Mahela Jayawardene's night either, as his reverse sweep off Nathan McCullum found short third man, giving New Zealand an opening in the 15th over with Sri Lanka needing 124.

The boundaries had dried up for the hosts and the drought lasted eight overs before Mathews charged Southee and swatted him over mid-on. The required rate crept up to seven and beyond but Dilshan and Mathews ensured things didn't get out of hand, perhaps gaining a psychological edge watching the bowlers furiously wipe the ball trying to get rid of the dew. The fielders showed good commitment, sliding and diving with purpose but the bowlers couldn't sustain the pressure, giving away regular boundaries.

Dilshan crashed one on the up and nearly cleaned up the bowler Trent Boult, before Mathews slapped two ordinary deliveries from Mills wide of point in a three-over period that produced a vital 30 runs. It was a matter of time before Dilshan produced his trademark lap shot, sending one off Jacob Oram to fine leg. Sri Lanka took their last Powerplay block of three overs in the end, when Dilshan muscled his way towards his century, reaching the landmark with a six over deep square leg.

Sri Lanka were fortunate their innings wasn't constantly interrupted by the weather. Two lengthy rain interruptions - both exceeding 100 minutes each - couldn't have been easy for New Zealand as they looked to build after being put in to bat. After the second break, they had 19 remaining overs to get as many as they could, with the threat of rain at the back of their heads.

The stand of 56 between James Franklin and Watling gave New Zealand the push they needed. Watling had nothing to lose in attacking. His first fifty came of 70 balls - his next 46 came off just 18. It included slogs to midwicket off the spinners, powerful drives to the deep square on the off side off the seamers and three boundaries in an over off Lasith Malinga. That over - the penultimate - yielded 15, as Malinga dished out low full tosses. It was one of those nights when he couldn't land his yorkers. Nathan McCullum gave him good support at the other end with clean hits.

A century for Watling seemed a possibility but he lost strike after the third ball in the final over. New Zealand had made enough to set Sri Lanka a required rate of just under a run-a-ball, but Dilshan and Mathews settled the issue with nearly two overs to spare and give Sri Lanka an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on November 8, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    Good Show Sri Lanka. Winning is habit, so keep going at least till the next big tournament. Hopefully Sri Lanka doesn't come second in a final like it did a month ago at the Premadasa Stadium.

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    t even giving a chance to play in the playing eleven.After tm dilshan Chandimal he is the leading run getter in the year 2012 in one days,even in the 20/0 world cup Chandimal did'nt even get a single practice game to take back his confidence, at the age of 23 these kind of players are going through lot of hard times,from my point of view selectors should not consider the thoughts of mahela,Sangakkara and Dilshan when picking a side. i still can remember how mahela jayawardena got his chance to play all the matches in the 2003 world cup thanks to sanath jayasuriya,now mahela is one of the greatest and can say the best batsmen ever produced by SL . but sad to say at the late 30s marvan atapattu,sanath jayasuriya and Chaminda Vass were dropped under the captaincy of mahela and sangakkara. that was a good move to give the new comers a chance but i have a fishy feeling that they did that to take over captaincy's and rule SL Cricket??? and other fishy feeling is that are theses players afrai

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    This is the best opportunity to give the youngsters a good run at international level. Dilshan Munaweera is among the leading strikers and will be a great investment for SL Cricket,but the way the Selectors and the SL cricket are handling him is very disappointing. On debut he scored 17 and had a good partnership with Tm Dilshan and put on 54 for the first wicket in 6 overs. Just after his debut with out giving confidence he was dropped to bat at number 3 in a seven overs encounter between South Africa,in a seaming wicket where all the Sri lankan batters failed to make a mark he was the highest run getter in that match with Sangakkara. next he was given a chance to play against the kiwis in the one and only 20/20 and only play was due to two overs he was not out on 4 with Tm Dilshan not out on 2.and inclusion of mahela got the youster out of the side with fare to say not even getting a chance to prove him self. Dinesh Chandimal among the leading run scorers in the Calender year and not

  • Dean on November 8, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    This makes me sick!!..why?..because they play in these useless matches so well but they screw up all important finals..not once not twice but 4 times, so I think I have the right to say this..

    I think they should send these guys for a good military training before close to a World cup..that way they will know how to handle pressure finally..

  • Alex on November 7, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    Dilshan is not professional. He plays well only when he is angry. ha.

  • chamitha on November 7, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    tharanga should be there for remaining 2 matches.he is coming from an injury.I'm sure he will score heaviely in hambantota.he is the man who should take the responsibility in top order after big 3's retirement.he is one of the greatest timer of the cricket ball I had ever seen.

  • Ahmad on November 7, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    great performance by dilshan and mathews after jaywardena and sangakara got out i thought tht now nz will win the match but because of dilshan and mathews the won well played sri lanka frm a pakistani fan

  • Mirza on November 7, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    @Raman Silva,why do you worry about Indian openers?Think about Srilanka.

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    I seriously think that a maximum of 4 fielders outside the circle is a bad idea. Needs to increase back to 5 now. Don't understand why 50 over is trying to be like 20 over when really its a balance form of game. This will ruin the game please consider!

  • sanjaya on November 7, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    Last 7yrs or so I was pretty impressed with Mahela's Batting & Captaincy skills.But seems he is misusing his talents & skills by doing nonsence things.look at the way he got out..He is a clazy batter who is having plenty of shots around the wicket .what was that pathatic shot he played.If im not mistaken he this was the reduclulers shot which he tried in the T20 Final. Also his captency decissions are not at his best.including Upul Tharanga ,not using the iptimum results from plyers like Chandimal / Thisara /Akila / Thirimanne.wht has happened to Mahela ???

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