At Christchurch, January 3, 2006. New Zealand won by five wickets. Toss: New Zealand.
A bristling undefeated 90 from Astle, the supersub, swept New Zealand past a testing target to set up a winning lead in the series. He joined the match after How and Vincent had put on a rapid 59, and remained to the climax. With 19 wanted from three overs and rain falling, the game was in the balance - but Astle, working his way back into form, smacked a six and a four in a Vaas over that included two no-balls and a wide, and that was that. Astle, who was both caught and bowled off no-balls towards the end, nonetheless lost his place, left out of the next match to accommodate Fleming, although he did return for the final game. Earlier, Sri Lanka - without the injured Jayasuriya - took advantage of a good one-day pitch and some short boundaries after being put in. Tharanga, particularly strong on the off side, compiled his second one-day century, sharing a stand of 109 with Sangakkara, before Atapattu led his side to a total which proved not quite enough. Cairns became only the second New Zealander, after Chris Harris, to take 200 wickets in one-day internationals when he removed Dilshan.
Man of the Match: W. U. Tharanga.