A five-wicket bag from pace bowler Daryl Tuffey was not enough to see the BLACKCAPS to victory against a Sri Lanka A side in a tour match at Colombo today [Sunday].
The BLACKCAPS batting line-up fell well short of the target set by the Sri Lankans, who won the 50-over match at the SSC ground by 61 runs.
The match was a warm-up for the One Day International tri-series starting later this week. It also provided an opportunity to rest some of the BLACKCAPS frontline players and give other squad members game time against a Sri Lanka A side that included a handful of recent international players.
Tuffey led a solid bowling performance from the BLACKCAPS, taking five wickets in helping to dismiss the Sri Lanka side for 234.
But the visitors struggled against a tight Sri Lanka attack and were all out for 173 in the 42nd over.
Tuffey gave the BLACKCAPS an exceptional start, taking the wickets of Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Udawatte inside the first six overs. With Upal Tharanga run out, Sri Lanka A was reeling at three for 14.
A middle order recovery, including 51 from Lahiru Thirimanne and 42 from Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, saw the home side scoring freely until Tuffey combined with Jesse Ryder to remove the last three Sri Lanka wickets.
The Sri Lankans were all out for 234 in the 48th over. Tuffey was the pick of the bowlers with five for 43, while Ryder took two for 18.
After Ryder made a brisk start to the chase, scoring 20 from 19 balls, Sri Lanka A quickly got on top of the BLACKCAPS batting and took wickets steadily through the middle order.
Brendon McCullum, captaining the side with Daniel Vettori rested, offered resistance with a measured 34 from 58 balls until he was caught in front Pushpakumara’s off-spin.
Jacob Oram battled to 39, including a partnership of 34 with Brendon Diamanti, and Jeetan Patel chipped in with 15 at the end of the innings, but the BLACKCAPS were all out for 173 with more than seven overs remaining.
Pushpakumara, with three for 36, and right arm medium pacer Dilhara Fernando, three for 40, were the best of the Sri Lanka A bowling effort.
The BLACKCAPS play their first match in the ODI tri-series on Tuesday, against Sri Lanka, then play India on Friday.
Sri Lanka A 234 in 47.5 overs (Thirimanne 51, Pushpakumara 42, Rupasinghe 34, Chandimal 29, Kandamby 26; Tuffey 5/53, Ryder 2/18)
New Zealand 173 in 41.5 overs (Oram 39, McCullum 34, Ryder 20; Pushpakumara 3/36, Fernando 3/40)
* Sri Lanka A won by 61 runs