Dilshan century sets up win

Tillakaratne Dilshan led his team to a seven  wicket win over the BLACKCAPS in the third One Day International at Pallekele International Stadium.

After being put into bat the BLACKCAPS compiled 188 for six off a rain reduced 33 overs. Sri Lanka, who were set a revised total of 197, reached the target with 11 balls to spare.

Dilshan, easily Sri Lanka’s best batsman, crafted a superb 102 off 95 deliveries and held steady while the rest of the top order failed.  He found a willing partner in all-rounder Angelo Mathew who supported with 54 not out.

Tim Southee got the defence off to a decent start when he bounced out Upul Tharanga for 10. 

It took a brilliant catch by Taylor to get the next breakthrough.  Fielding at mid-wicket, the New Zealand captain threw out his arm and plucked the ball out of the air to help Mills remove Kumar Sangakkara for 15.

Nathan McCullum then got rid of Mahela Jayawardene, caught at backwards point for five, to have Sri Lank teetering at 73 for three.

However, a superb fourth wicket partnership worth 127 runs by Dilshan and Mathews guided Sri Lanka to victory.

Earlier, Watling starred for the BLACKCAPS with a well-paced 96 off 88 balls to lay the foundations for their competitive total. It was his highest ODI score, overtaking the 72 not out he stuck against the West Indies in July and is his fourth half-century in five innings. 

In a stop-start innings, the BLACKCAPS lost Rob Nicol early for seven before the first batch of heavy rain swept across the ground at 3.10pm with the teams returning to the field at 4.45pm.

Brendon McCullum was adjudicated LBW shortly after the stoppage for 13 and it wasn’t long before the rain returned with the players leaving the field just after 5.00pm.  By the time the match got back underway at 7.30pm play was reduced to 33 overs per side.

The problems were compounded when a direct-hit had Ross Taylor run-out in the in the first over back for seven, leaving the visitors 43 for three after 14.5 overs.

The change is conditions brought about a change in batting order with Jacob Oram promoted to five.  It wasn’t successful with the big left-hander unluckily given LBW for two with replays showing the ball pitching outside leg stump.

James Franklin went about lifting the tempo with a quick 26 off 25 deliveries while Nathan McCullum helped finish the innings off with 22 off 18.

Sri Lanka take a two-nil lead in the five match series with the first ODI washed out.  The fourth match is Hambantota on Saturday.

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