Rain was once again a factor in the fourth One Day International between the BLACKCAPS and Sri Lanka at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota.
After several interuptions in play the BLACKCAPS managed 131 for eight off 32 overs leaving Sri Lanka to chase 131 off the same number of overs for victory. The home side comfortably reaching their target with more than five overs to spare.
The toss got underway at the scheduled time of 2.30pm, with Sri Lanka winning and opting to field, but five minutes later the rain came down and the players were not able to take the field until 5.00pm for a 42-over per side match.
The BLACKCAPS suffered early blows on the seaming wicket as Rob Nicol hit one straight to mid-wicket for 11, BJ Watling was run-out for 15 and Ross Taylor was caught behind for six.
Brendon McCullum looked to be going along nicely but on 30 decided to hit-out and was caught on the long-on boundary to leave New Zealand teetering at 73 for four off 20.1 overs.
Kane Williamson and James Franklin went about resurrecting the innings but Jeevan Mendis made sure it was short lived. First he bowled out Williamson for 21 before doing the same to Nathan McCullum next ball leaving Andrew Ellis to fend off the hat-trick delivery.
Ellis didn’t last much longer though, also falling to Mendis, LBW without scoring just as the rain returned and the covers were dragged back out.
When the rain eased off another hour and a half was lost with the match further reduced to 33 overs.
James Franklin was trapped in front for 21 with just six balls remaining while debutant Adam Milne smacked a four and six off the last two balls to finish 12 not out. Southee was the other unbeaten batsman with seven.
Mendis was outstanding with three for 15 off four overs and Kulasekara also impressed with two for 17 off five.
The Sri Lanka run chase got off to a steady start despite Southee and Trent Boult regularly beating the outside edge.
Tharanga’s patience wore thin and in the eight over smacked Southee past point for a boundary only to try and replicate the shot next ball where he was caught by Nicol for 27.
Boult picked up the wicket of Dinesh Chandimal but the opener had already made 43 and put on 87 runs with Kumar Sangakkara for the second wicket.
Elis picked up the late wicket of Thirimanne but the match was all-but over at that point with Sangakkara guiding his team home with an unbeaten 42.
Sri Lanka lead the series three-nil with the final match played at the same venue on Monday.