Sri Lanka won the important encounter against New Zealand in the third ODI at Nelson to keep alive the hopes of a comeback in a five-match ODI series.
Due to the non-presence of the New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson took the charge of the captaincy after making a comeback from a minor injury. Williamson decided to bat first after winning the toss. New Zealand made total three changes, as Adam Milne and Tim Southee replaced Matt Henry and Ish Sodhi along with the McCullum’s replacement Williamson. On the other hand, Sri Lanka made just one change as Nuwan Pradeep replaced Sachithra Senanayake.
Batting first New Zealand lost wickets at regular intervals which stopped them from putting a big total on the batting track. However, standing captain Williamson’s decent half-century and some important lower-order contributions helped the home team to reach the score of 276 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. The two Openers, Martin Guptill scored 30 runs and Tom Latham scored 42 runs in the innings.
Sri Lankan right-arm pacer Dushmantha Chameera bowled brilliantly as he finished with impressive figures of 10-0-38-2. Also, Nuwan Pradeep and Jeffrey Vandersay picked up two wickets each.
Chasing down 277 runs, Sri Lanka started in a positive style as they managed 83 runs during the mandatory powerplay (0.1-10 overs). Danuska Gunathilaka registered his maiden fifty in the international cricket in just 28 balls. He played a quick-fire 65 run knock from 45 balls before getting out. The opening partnership stood for 98 runs while the second wicket partnership stood for 111 runs between the opener Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne. Dilshan (91) fell nine runs short from his 23rd ODI hundred when he got run out. Later, Thirimanne secured the match for the visitors along with Dinesh Chandimal with unbeaten 68 runs partnership for the third wicket. Thirimanne remained not out at 87 runs of 103 balls while Chandimal ended at 27*. Sri Lanka won the match with a comfortable margin of 8 wickets and 22 balls to spare.
Mitchell McClenaghan was the only bowler who managed a wicket for the New Zealand team while the second wicket was a run out of Dilshan.
Gunathilaka was selected as the man of the match for his impressive performance in this match. New Zealand is still leading the five-match series by 2-1. The fourth match will be played on 2nd January 2016 at the same ground, Nelson.
New Zealand 276/8 in 50 overs (K. Williamson 59, T. Latham 42, D. Chameera 2/38)
Sri Lanka 277/2 in 46.2 overs (T. Dilshan 91, L. Thirimanne 87*, McClenaghan 1/39)