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Rain played spoiler yet again, in what looked like New Zealand's march towards their first victory of the tour. A bit more than a quarter of the match had been played at Hambantota and dominated all through by the Kiwis before showers filled the ground and got heavier as time passed. There was a glimmer of hope of the match resuming when the rain stopped around 7pm local time, and an inspection was scheduled for 8.30pm. However, at around 7.45pm the heavens opened again and the match was finally called off.
New Zealand were clearly the better side today in the 28 overs of play that took place. They won the toss and opted to field, being sure that it was going to rain. Sri Lanka rested Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath ahead of the test series with Shaminda Eranga getting his first game of the ODI series. Akila Dananjaya, meanwhile was on debut.
It was New Zealand though who dominated from the word go. They pitched the ball in the right areas and hence got wickets at regular intervals despite not getting as much swing as the previous ODI. Tim Southee clean bowled Dinesh Chandimal for a duck with a gem of an out swinger. He struck again in the 4th over as Lahiru Thirimanne nicked one to BJ Watling. Angelo Mathews fell for naught in the next over and Sri Lanka were in deep trouble at 34/3.
They added just 10 runs in the next 5 overs before Sangakkara nicked a swinging delivery from Adam Milne, the young fast bowler claiming a gem of scalp for his first in One Day Internationals.
Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga shared a 47 run stand for the 5th wicket before Jayawardene was run out for 24 (26b). The Lankan skipper was shortly after followed back to the hutch by Jeevan Mendis who edged a wide delivery from Andrew Ellis attempting a wild shot whle still on naught.
Upul Tharanga brought up his 50 at the other end while half his side collapsed at the other end. Sri Lanka took their batting powerplay in the 27th over. Thisara Perera and Tharanga hit fours on either side of the wicket but were both dismissed just before rain started pouring down and the covers were called for. Sri Lanka were in deep trouble at 123/8 from 28.3 overs but this good performance by the Kiwis was all in vain.
However, the Kiwis have many positives to take from thin game. All their bowlers held a good line and pitched the ball in the right areas. They will look to carry the momentum to the test series. Sri Lanka struggled today and have some thinking to do before the test series.
Sri Lanka 123/8 (28.3 Overs, 4.31 rpo)
U Tharanga 60 (94) T Southee 3/18
M Jayawardene 24 (26) A Ellis 2/22
Match abandoned due to rain
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