Lightning stops play in Hambantota
Rain proved not to be the tropical monsoon's only disciple in its ongoing war against cricket in Sri Lanka, as a less mundane meteorological phenomenon stopped play and prompted the players' exit in Hambantota. Dark clouds had gathered over the venue before the match had begun, but around the 20th over, lightning began to strike the forest to the east, about 1.5km from the venue. Spotting a particularly menacing fork, the umpires conferred and led the players off the field, citing concern for their safety. Lightning has also been known to stop play both in Johannesburg and Florida, where lightning detection systems force evacuation from open fields.
Colin Munro's reputation as a hard-hitter would have preceded him to Sri Lanka, but his opposition might not have guessed at the power he could generate even with his weak arm. Offspinner Sachithra Senanayake bowled with a packed offside field to Munro in the ninth over, and to counter this, on the fourth ball, Munro switched his stance and his grip and slog-swept a length delivery over what should have been deep point for a 75-metre six. He played the shot again two balls later and got four on the bounce.
The twice-declined surrender
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara have been difficult to part when they come together in ODIs over the past two years, and even when Dilshan had seemingly made peace with losing his wicket, New Zealand could not break the partnership. Dilshan had struggled to time the ball after Sri Lanka resumed their innings, after the long break, and when he missed a short ball off Andrew Ellis in the last over, he ran some way down the pitch, calling his partner through. But Sangakkara refused the run, leaving Dilshan stranded. Spotting the wicketkeeper's under-arm throw at the stumps, Dilshan seemingly gave up trying to reclaim his ground, and when the keeper's throw missed, Ellis ran forward to attempt a dive-throw of his own, which was also wide of the stumps, despite Dilshan's indifference to getting back into his crease.
Nuwan Kulasekara's inswingers have gained considerable malice in 2013, and despite having to contend with a wet ball, he swung it big again to terrorise New Zealand at the top of the innings. Left-hand batsman Anton Devcich had seen Kulasekara's first ball swing hard and late away from him, but with the required rate so high, he chased the next one and edged through to the keeper. Perhaps seeing this movement, new man Rob Nicol, a right-hand batsman, waltzed down the pitch hoping to counter it, only for Kulasekara to see him coming and deliver another back-of-a-length inswinger that drew his edge as well.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here