Sri Lanka leveled the three-match ODI series against New Zealand by winning the third and final one-day international at Dambulla by 36 runs on Saturday according to the Duckworth/Lewis Method.
Sri Lanka set New Zealand a target of 216 in 33 overs in the rain-affected game and the game was then stopped due to bad light with New Zealand on 126-6 in 25 overs. They needed to be 162-6 at that stage to win the game according to the D/L Method.
The game was affected by two rain interruptions after New Zealand won the toss and put the Sri Lankans in.
Sri Lanka’s spinners did a good job drying up the runs and putting pressure on the batsmen after captain Angelo Mathews started off with off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who came in for severe criticism in the second ODI, bounced back strongly by finishing with three wickets for 25 runs.
A 63-run partnership between James Neesham and Nathan McCullum kept the New Zealanders interested, but the top order had left too much to be done for the lower order batsmen. None of the top five batsmen managed to get into double figures. Neesham was unbeaten on 42 off 46 deliveries while McCullum was on 35 not out off 19 deliveries.
Earlier, a 91 run opening wicket partnership between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene gave the Sri Lankans a solid platform. The introduction of McCullum in the 14th over saw Sri Lanka losing Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in the space of three deliveries.
Mitchell McClenaghan gave New Zealand the edge when he returned for a new spell and dismissed Dilshan and Mathews in successive deliveries as Sri Lanka slumped to 110 for four. Dilshan, who reached his half-century off 45 deliveries, was dismissed for 53 off 50 deliveries having hit eight fours.
Some big hitting by Rangana Herath and Sachithra Senanayake toward the end helped Sri Lanka to a total of 211 as 36 runs came off the final three overs, 18 of which came in the last.
Senanayake was named man of the match while Dilshan, who hit three half-centuries in the series, was named player of the series.
The series was drawn 1-1. New Zealand had won the rain-affected second ODI by four wickets, while the first game was abandoned due to rain. The teams will now move to Kandy where two T20 internationals will take place.