New Zealand 294 for 5 (Guptill 102, Williamson 61, Taylor 61) beat Sri Lanka 258 (Mathews 95, Chandimal 50, Henry 5-40) by 36 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Martin Guptill's measured tenth ODI hundred helped drive New Zealand to 294 for 5, but it was fast bowler Matt Henry, in his third outstanding turn in the series, who clinched the match and the series for New Zealand with 5 for 40.
Sri Lanka had been in sight of their target, with 58 required from 40 balls, before Henry struck thrice in ten deliveries to swing the match definitively in New Zealand's favour. He first rushed Chamara Kapugedara with a waist-high short ball, which the batsman could only top-edge to fine leg. Then next over, Henry delivered a head-high bouncer just outside off stump, which Angelo Mathews dragged to the deep square-leg fielder, to get out on 95. Sri Lanka's great hope now dismissed, Henry also removed Dushmantha Chameera in that over. When Nuwan Kulasekara holed out at the start of the 48th over, Sri Lanka fell 36 runs short of the hosts, who took the series 3-1.
Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson had also produced fine supporting innings for Guptill, contributing 61 apiece, while Trent Boult took 3 for 43 in his first game of the series. Mathews had helped resurrect the chase from 3 for 33, but though he had some support from Dinesh Chandimal, who hit 50, and Milinda Siriwardana, who struck 39 from 22 balls, he did not find a partner with whom to wrest the advantage for Sri Lanka.
It had seemed an unlikely pursuit from the early overs, in which the required rate had also climbed. Boult made the first dent in Sri Lanka's innings, but it may be fair to say that Tillakaratne Dilshan was equally complicit in his dismissal. Boult angled balls across Dilshan from around the wicket, but he still attempted an over-the-shoulder scoop in the third over. Dilshan only managed to send the ball floating to the wicketkeeper, off the edge. Lahiru Thirimanne played the ball onto his stumps next over, to give Henry his first scalp, before Danushka Gunathilaka mis-hit a lofted drive off Henry to Ish Sodhi, who took a good catch backpedaling from mid-on.
Mathews and Chandimal then rebuilt sagely after those losses, but their pursuit of singles and twos was hindered by another sublime New Zealand fielding performance. The hosts made sprawling saves in the infield and on the fence, and perhaps their only fault was missing the stumps with their throws. They had at least two opportunities to have Mathews out for less than fifty, but could not effect direct hits.
Chandimal departed attempting a heave over the legside after the required rate had crept above eight. His 65-ball 50 had helped give Sri Lanka a platform, but they required acceleration. Siriwardana provided that for a while, launching two leg-side sixes off Adam Milne in one over. He even reverse-slapped Mitchell Santner for four, but the spinner hit back to have Siriwardana caught at deep square leg in the same over.
Mathews' running was characteristically chaotic, but his bating was serene. He took smart runs into the outfield while Sri Lanka rebuilt, but also made calculated srikes, which were often perfectly executed. Mathews ran at the seamers often, and generally smoked them down the ground. The midwicket region was also productive for him. Mathews' dismissal was a double-blow, because not only had he fallen to the short ball yet again this tour, but it was also another score of 90-odd - this one particularly unfulfilling, as it came in a series defeat.
Earlier, there were signs of Guptill preparing for another assault in the Powerplay, but for most of his 102 off 109 on Tuesday, Guptill sought to accumulate, instead of accosting. It was against Thisara Perera that his innings eased into gear. Guptill flayed Thisara through the covers in the fourth over, then collected a high, straight six and two consecutive square boundaries off the bowler before the end of the Powerplay.
When the field relaxed, with New Zealand at 55 for 1 after 10 overs, Guptill and Williamson quickly established a pattern of collecting risk-free runs into the outfield. The seam movement and carry that Mathews had hoped for at the toss did not materialise, and Nuwan Pradeep was the only bowler to get any movement off the deck. Once that disappeared, Guptill and Williamson both began hitting short balls in well in front of square, which suggested the surface was not particularly quick either.
Williamson was serene as ever at the crease, inching towards his eighth fifty in 12 innings as Sri Lanka introduced spin via Tillakaratne Dilshan and Siriwardana. Guptill himself moved to his third half-century in the series with a swept four off Siriwardana in the 19th over; Williamson got to the milestone in the 22nd. Their stand grew to 122 before something of a freak dismissal ended Williamson's stay two overs later. He aimed a swivel-pull off a short leg-side delivery from Dilshan, but managed only to glove it, then bounce it off his thigh pad towards wicketkeeper Chandimal, who snatched it low to the ground.
Guptill progressed in much the same fashion alongside Ross Taylor, striking the occasional boundary off the bad balls, but otherwise happy to exploit the vacant green spaces. There were two sixes off his bat in the middle overs - one over deep midwicket and a flat-batted strike over the long-off boundary. He went on to bring up his century with an edged four through vacant slips.
Guptill departed soon after, mistiming a hoick to long-on off Kulasekara, but by now Taylor had shaken off his poor form. He and Luke Ronchi began the death-overs charge - Taylor favouring the deep midwicket area - after Henry Nicholls had holed out for 2.
With six wickets still in hand after the 45th over, New Zealand might have hoped for a brutal finish, but those expectations were tempered by Taylor's departure, slogging Kulasekara to the square-leg fielder. Excellent death bowling from Kulasekara crimped the flow of boundaries, and Pradeep bowled well in support until the final over, where he leaked 16 runs, including two Santner sixes from the last three balls. Kulasekara was the best of Sri Lanka's bowlers, carried through by experience to figures of 3 for 53, though he still hasn't recovered his lost swing.