Spinners help Sri Lanka square series

Sri Lanka’s spinners reined in New Zealand’s batsmen to win the rain-affected third and final One-Day International in Dambulla on Saturday(November 16) and level the series at 1-1.

The start of the match was delayed by 90 minutes due to rain, and another interruption meant the game was scheduled as a 33-overs-a-side affair. Sri Lanka made 211 for 8 in that time, with New Zealand being set a Duckworth-Lewis target of 216 in 33 overs. New Zealand was on 126 for 6 in 25 overs, when bad light forced the umpires to call off play, giving Sri Lanka a 36-run win.

Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner, claimed three wickets while Sachithra Senanayake, the offspinner, had two scalps, as New Zealand slumped to 63 for 6 by the 19th over.

James Neesham and Nathan McCullum kept New Zealand’s slim hopes alive with a swashbuckling 63-run stand off just 36 balls for the seventh wicket, but were left facing too much to do. Neesham was unbeaten on 42 and McCullum was on 35 off 19 balls when play was called off.

Earlier, Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 53 and put on 91 for the opening with Mahela Jayawardene (46), before Sri Lanka slipped to 146 for 6. Nathan McCullum removed Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in the space of three deliveries before Mitchell McClenaghan dismissed Dilshan and Angelo Mathews, the captain, off successive balls.

The ninth-wicket pair of Senanayake and Herath boosted the total by smashing 18 runs in Andrew Ellis’s final over.

New Zealand will round off their short two-week tour with two Twenty20 Internationals in Pallekele on November 19 and 21.