The first ever match between Test playing nations in the USA didn’t disappoint with the BLACKCAPS defending a low total beat Sri Lanka by 28 runs at Central Broward Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
After winning the toss and batting first, the BLACKCAPS posted a solid but unspectacular 120 for seven and then bundled out Sri Lanka in the final over for 90.
The Sri Lankan run chase suffered an early set back with Kyle Mills nicking out Mahela Jayawardene off the second ball of the innings. The tall speedster then had his second in the fifth over when Tillarakatne Dilshan played on to have the match evenly poised at 20 for two.
A 28 run partnership between Kumar Sangakkara and Anglelo Mathews followed with the pair taking the score through to 48 before Daniel Vettori induced a false shot from Sangakkara who holed out for 17.
Sri Lanka tried to consolidate but two wickets in two balls by Scott Stryis put the BLACKCAPS firmly on top with dangerman Mathews out for 27 and Chamara Kapugedera for seven to have Sri Lanka reduced to a precarious 63 for five.
Styris broke through again in the 14th over with Thissara Perera skying one to long-off to leave Sri Lanka requiring 51 off the final five overs.
They suffered a further set back when Brendon McCullum completed an acrobatic run-out to get rid of Nuwan Kulasekara for seven.
McCullum was in the action again four balls later, this time taking a catch behind the stumps to remove Suraj Randiv off the bowling of Andy Mckay.
The next wicket to fall was Lasith Malinga who will consider himself unlucky. Chinthaka Jayasinghe struck the ball firmly down the wicket, only to have it rebound off Tim Southee’s shin and onto the stumps with Malinga stranded outside his crease.
McKay rounded out proceedings when he bowled Ajantha Mendis for two in the final over.
Vettori dominated the middle overs yet again, conceding just 11 runs off his four overs while Styris claimed the man-of-the-match award for his figures of three for ten off three overs.
New ball bowlers Mills and McKay were also tidy, taking two for 17 and two for 20 respectively.
Earlier, the BLACKCAPS struggled on the slow wicket and were made to work hard to reach a competitive total.
They weren’t helped by a poor start, losing their first three wickets for 51 runs in nine overs.
Brendon McCullum was the only one at the top to make any impact with a quick-fire 18 off 13 before chipping to mid-wicket where Mathews dived forward to take a superb catch.
Aaron Redmond (8), debutant Rob Nicol (10), Styris (10) and Martin Guptill (10) never got going as the spin of Mendis and Randiv took control.
Ross Taylor hit 27 to give the score some respectability with a suicidal second run leading to his dismissal.
Vettori rounded off the innings with an invaluable 21 off 16 as the BLACKCAPS managed to put on a defendable total.