Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Hambantota November 10, 2013

Rains end contest after SL post 288


Match abandoned Sri Lanka 288 for 9 (Dilshan 81, Sangakkara 79, Mathews 74*, Mills 3-49) v New Zealand 13 for 1 in 4.2 overs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In the first encounter of the annual tussle between Sri Lanka's cricket schedule and the elements, rain came away the winner again, ending the match after 54.2 overs of play in Hambantota. October and November are wet months for almost every region in the country, and just as New Zealand's last limited-overs series in the country was heavily affected by the weather, this one has begun in familiar fashion.

Before the heavens opened up, Sri Lanka had hit a daunting 288 for 9 thanks to an effortless 79 from Kumar Sangakkara, and Angelo Mathews' business-like 74 not out from 64. Tillakaratne Dilshan top-scored with 81, after he had lost his opening partner first ball, but his 137-run partnership with Sangakkara provided the hosts with an excellent foundation for the consummate finish that followed, as acting captain Kyle Mills marshaled a green New Zealand attack prone to indiscipline.

A searing opening spell from Lasith Malinga had already accounted for Anton Devcich by the time the rain came down, and the match was called off after a couple of hours of incessant rain, with the visitors on 13 for 1.

Sri Lanka's focus in 2013 has been an earnest, sometimes frenzied, quest for regeneration in anticipation of the senior batsmen's retirement, but neither Sangakkara's skill nor his hunger seems to have abated. Having top-scored in Sri Lanka's previous ODI series in July, Sangakkara played a series of crisp drives and concise pulls early in his innings, demonstrating he had lost none of his touch during the international hiatus. More than his swift rate of scoring - an ODI virtue that largely eluded him until this year - the most striking aspect of Sangakkara's innings was the ease with which he progressed. Having arrived to face the second ball of the innings, he seemed to be cruising in third gear throughout as he rarely dipped below a run-a-ball.

Dilshan had just returned from a finger injury, but despite being compelled into defence by his own lack of fluency, the dot balls did not incite panic in his approach, with Sangakkara ensuring the score sped along. Dilshan was not so out of touch that he could not whip bad balls through cover, nor did he shelve the scoop, which appeared as early as the seventh over, but the bludgeoned pulls and violent cuts that routinely populate a Dilshan innings were notable in their relative absence. His eventual score, though, revealed his own increasing versatility and appetite for runs. After Sangakkara, Dilshan had been the top ODI run-scorer in both this calendar year, and in Sri Lanka's last series.

Mitchell McClenaghan was among Sangakkara's early victims, as the bowler strayed either side of the wicket in his opening spell to concede four boundaries - two through square leg, and two on the off side. A hundred seemed almost inevitable when he reached his half-century off 51 balls, but the flat left-arm spin of Anton Devcich stemmed the run-flow after the field had gone back, and Sangakkara eventually chipped him to midwicket, cursing himself for getting out needlessly.

Mathews arrived when New Zealand had struck a sudden double-blow, but he quickly overcame his typically shaky start with a straight six off Nathan McCullum, before settling down to play a fine finishing innings - a responsibility he had lately begun to neglect. His arrival coincided with a more fluent period for Dilshan as well, and they both ensured the momentum from Sangakkara's innings was not wasted. Mathews struck three fours in the 36th over - the first of the batting Powerplay - even charging a McClenaghan bouncer and swatting it to the midwicket boundary for four. Although Dilshan also sent two over the keeper's head soon after, he tried one too many scoops. and gave the keeper an easy high catch.

Thirimanne and Chandimal perished cheaply, as New Zealand struck through McCullum and McClenaghan just as Sri Lanka seemed headed for 300, but Mathews found runs all around the ground, and kept the innings on track. 
Mills took two wickets late in the innings as Sachithra Senanayake's four-ball 14 provided a fruitful final burst for Sri Lanka.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lester on November 11, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Why is Chandi in the side taking up an allrounder slot. They gave him the gloves to justify his selection - crazy. There are so many allrounders worthy of that place (Tissara etc). Or if they are looking for a batting/keeper how about Kausul Silva or Kusal Perera.

    Come on selectors, what is Chandi doing at 7. If it is to bolster up the batting and it gets down to him to save the game - the game is already lost.

  • jayan on November 11, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    from this match, angies comeback is a pleasure. as a nation v shouldn't care abt ages, who r fit to play should play, our main target and object is 2015WC, one match for 3 matches series and 2 matches for 5 matches series is enough for this stage of our cricket, our seniors r not going to retire at once end of the 2015WC gz. definetly they r fit 4 or 5 years more.

  • Samapth on November 11, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Friends..Do not blame at Chandimal and Thirimanne for their failures on Y'day...Team management and the senior players blame themselves for to this..At least they have to learn from MS Dhoni,the pattern of how to develop the youngsters under the seniors.MSD started batting at number 3 and decided to go down to No 6 to give the opportunity to youngsters to obtain the international experience.....He gave continuous chance to young talented Rohit Sharma when everybody call him as" No hit Sharma"....What we are doing here....We play all the big guns without identifying the validity of the series and play them in the middle by keeping Chandimal anThirimanne for the slogging....If we need to play Thimanne at number 6 or 7 why the earth ..we have not selected Thisara Perera instead of him.....If we need to deleop young batter 5..we need to play them below number 5....Why can not we rest one of big 3 in each match to develop youngsters?....Why can not MJ bat at No 6 Like MS Dhoni......?

  • Android on November 11, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    indian cool guy why are you hate Srilanka so much?,When you every time putting a comment you abusing the Srilanka.Tell you something Can India Win a match without dhoni against Top 6 Ranking Side? You are Scared of the 3 legends we have.Srilanka fans don't abuse these legends you don't forget how these guys are serve to this country in last 10 years.Respect the players rather then abusing

  • Randika on November 11, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Cricket enthusiasm in Sri Lanka is fading. I was an avid cricket fan who never missed a game growing up. Now in my early thirties I can't bring myself a watch an international. Many have moved on, and if there is a Rugby game around fans flock in there thousand. Bit sad but thats the reality. T20 overdose has killed the spark it seems

  • DINESH on November 11, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Just escape for SL. Rain saved them, otherwise the target would have been chased by NZ in 29.3 overs.

  • Peace on November 11, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    2. Dilshan, 3.Sanga, 4.Jayawardhane, 5.Mathews - what's this batting order? If seniors are occupying the top places, then how the juniors could perform? At least SL can try differently when playing against a week team. SL should give chances to youngsters at top of the order and Sanga and Dilshan should come on 4th and 5th down. Mathews can take 1st down spot. Dhoni is an excellent top order batsmen, but never would want to do that, Always give chances to youngsters and take the load on him at the lower order. Dhoni always bats under pressure. Sanga & Dilshan at this stage should take load on them. Its pity to see same unchanged batting order. This is not fair Mr. Sanga...Think about SL future and not about your individual performance, and avg.

  • Manoj on November 11, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    As an Indian fan, I am embarrassed seeing the comments from my fellow fans. But, at the same time, I am happy that our fans are interested in this match even more than Lankans and Kiwi fans. There are some reasons that we can't accuse Lankans as in some of our comments. Otherwise, it would be like "Pot calling the kettle, you are black".

  • Peace on November 11, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    61.5% is scored by Seniors and extras and remaining 8 players scored just 38.5%, Mathews is a Captain and considered as a mid level experienced cricketer. So Youngsters scored just 38 runs. It clearly says SL lacks new international standard cricketers. It seems SL batching coach is doing an excellent job.

  • Mohammed on November 11, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    a complete bore. Minnow versus Minnow.