Cricket: Sri Lanka take 2-0 lead despite fine Watling knock

By Cameron McMillan

A fine 96 from BJ Watling was in vain as the New Zealand cricket side lost the third one-day international against Sri Lanka in another rain-affected match this morning.

Watling broke John Reid's record for the highest score in Sri Lanka by a New Zealander as he was forced to sit through two long rain delays before helping the Black Caps reach 188 in 33 overs.

Sri Lanka chased down a revised target of 197 with seven wickets in hand as Tillakaratne Dilshan led the way with 102 not out.

Dilshan and Angelo Mathews (54 not out) put on 127 for the fourth wicket to reach the target with 11 balls remaining.

The win gives Sri Lanka a 2-0 lead with two matches remaining. The next match is in Hambantota on Saturday night (NZT).

SCOREBOARD

The Black Caps will be pleased to see the back of the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium where they have played all four games on the tour so far which have resulted in two defeats, two no results and local groundstaff getting more time out in the middle then any New Zealand batsmen.

Following the defeat captain Ross Taylor said the conditions made it tough and he wasn't counting on the weather situation changing.

"I am becoming a very good forecaster here in Sri Lanka and I am sure there will be rain in Hambantota as well,'' he said.

"Dilshan took the game away. We were always in the game. Dew made it tough for the bowlers. We went a bit too wide and a bit too short.''

After being sent into bat, New Zealand reached 27-1 in the ninth over - Rob Nicol went for seven in the third over - before rain took players off the field for an hour and 45 minutes.

On their return only five more overs were bowled - Brendon McCullum went for 13 - before more rain arrived again causing an even longer two-and-a-half hour delay.
Watling and Taylor finally got back out into the middle with the game reduced to 33 overs and the Black Caps made a poor start to the third phase of their innings with their skipper run out for seven in the first over back.

When Jacob Oram was trapped lbw by Jeevan Mendis for two 12 balls later New Zealand were struggling at 49-4.

Watling and James Franklin (26) got the innings back on track with a 56-run partnership and Nathan McCullum chipped in with 22 from 18 balls near the end as the Black Caps set another competitive total in what would have been frustrating circumstances.

With 12 boundaries, Watling produced his second 50 of the series but he might feel aggrieved of the shortened overs robbing him a decent shot at a maiden ODI ton having to hit a six off the final ball to reach three figures.

The Black Caps remained in the match throughout Sri Lanka's innings with Tim Southee, Kyle Mills and Nathan McCullum taking a wicket each as Upul Tharanga (10), Kumar Sangakkara (15) and Mahela Jayawardene (5) all fell before the 15-over mark.

With the hosts at 73-3, Mathews joined Dilshan and they pair made the most of short and wide bowling to ensure victory and at least a tied series for with just two matches remaining.

- NZ Herald

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