Sri Lanka have won the third and final ODI against the BLACKCAPS by 36 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis system, meaning the series ends in a 1-1 draw.
Twice rain forced the players from Rangiri Dambulla Stadium, seeing the match reduced to 33 overs per side. Sri Lanka’s total of 211 for eight was revised by Duckworth-Lewis to give the BLACKCAPS a target of 216.
The BLACKCPS overcame a bad start to be in with a chance with eight overs to go. Jimmy Neesham (42*) and Nathan McCullum (35*) held the key, before the match was called off.
The start of the run chase hadn’t gone to plan, with the top five all back in the shed by the end of the 11th over. The spin of Sachithra Senanayaka (2-14) and Rangana Herath (3-25) did the bulk of the damage.
It took a partnership between Neesham and McCullum to see the BLACKCAPS really start to make inroads, with the pair bringing up the visitors 100 in the 24th over.
They continued to increase their level of aggression and applied pressure on the Sri Lankan bowling attack – and it told. The home side looked rattled and went for 12 an over in the final five overs before play was abandoned.
It thwarted what promised to be a thrilling end to the match. The BLACKCAPS still required 90 from the final eight overs, but had the momentum. Players and fans alike were left frustrated.
Earlier, the game had been reduced to 43 overs a side, following some rain prior to the start of the match.
Once play got underway initial signs were ominous for the BLACKCAPS, with openers Mahela Jayawardene and Tilikaratne Dilshan quickly settling into their groove at the crease.
The experienced pair applied pressure on the kiwi bowlers, finding the boundary regularly and racing to 90 without loss after 14 overs.
The introduction of McCullum changed all that however.
With just his second ball he dismissed Jayawardene, who attempted a scoop but instead only managed to flick it up into the gloves of Luke Ronchi. Two balls later there was another big moment, with Sangakkara bowled for a duck.
Those two wickets quickly swung the momentum in the BLACKCAPS favour and they took full advantage.
Mitchell McClenaghan was brought back into the attack and struck twice in two balls, first enticing the edge from Dilshan (53), before trapping skipper Angelo Matthews to put himself on a hat-trick.
It was unsuccessful and rain soon followed. After another hours break the game was reduced to a 33 over match, leaving Sri Lanka 10.2 overs to bat.
The BLACKCAPs took four wickets during this time, while Sri Lanka added an extra 77 runs to finish on 211 for eight. Duckworth-Lewis added a further five runs to give the BLACKCAPS a target of 216.
The teams now head to Pallekale for the first of two Twenty20s on Tuesday.