Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand by 36 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-hit third and final one-day international in Dambulla on Saturday to draw the series 1-1.
The Black Caps, set a D/L target of 216 in 33 overs, were 6-126 in 25 overs when bad light ended play.
The tourists needed to be 162 at that stage to win.
Sri Lanka had made 8-211 from 33 overs after the start was delayed by 90 minutes due to bad weather.
New Zealand had won the second game in Hambantota on Tuesday after the first match was washed out.
With an opportunity to press their claim for selection this summer, no player in New Zealand's patchwork top order grasped his chance against Sri Lanka last night.
After Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum were sent home from the tour to prepare for the visits of the West Indies and India, a troupe of batsmen on the fringes of national selection found the door to the side ajar.
Incumbent opener Martin Guptill was also missing while Jesse Ryder continued his comeback in domestic cricket.
But, based on last night's evidence, all four senior men should boost the Black Caps' batting lineup when the limited overs portion of the West Indies tour begins on Boxing Day.
Across five encounters with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Tom Latham's 86 was the standout from the top order, but he made only one other score above double figures.
Anton Devcich had a quickfire 46 against Bangladesh but was dismissed cheaply again last night, while Rob Nicol's recall brought scores of 1no, 0 and 1.
Grant Elliott made 71 in the opening match of the tour but then fell four times for 14 or fewer, and Colin Munro's 85 against Bangladesh was the 26-year-old's only contribution.
Two men who did impress enough last night to warrant continued selection were Nathan McCullum and Mitchell McClenaghan. Sri Lanka's fast start in Dambulla was halted by a double-strike from McCullum before McClenaghan took two wickets in as many balls to remove the hosts' remaining frontline batsmen.
Following his heroics with the bat in New Zealand's last-ball triumph in the second match against Sri Lanka, the elder McCullum showed his wares with the ball and finished with 2 for 13 off four overs.
The off-spinner broke a 91-run opening stand between Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, getting the former caught behind before bowling Kumar Sangakkara for a two-ball duck.
McClenaghan, who took 2 for 34 from seven, showed in his second spell why he is considered among the top tier of Kiwi quicks, finding the right length and some late outswing to nick out Dilshan and Angelo Mathews on consecutive deliveries.
It was a timely blow from McClenaghan, and not just in the context of the match. His indifferent performance in Hambantota followed an expensive turn in Bangladesh and the pair of senior scalps would have done the left-armer's confidence no harm ahead of the summer.
New Zealand will round off their short two-week tour with two Twenty20 internationals in Pallekele on November 19 and 21.
-AAP and nzherald.co.nz