CHRISTCHURCH: Super-sub Nathan Astle found form in a crisis on Tuesday, scoring an unbeaten 90 to lead New Zealand to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka and to a 3-0 edge in their five-match limited-overs cricket series.

Astle was dropped from the New Zealand team prior to the series after an extended run of poor form. But he was recalled when captain Stephen Fleming pulled out of matches on Saturday and Tuesday to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.

Sri Lanka's batsmen showed more mettle on Tuesday than they had in reaching only 163 in the second match at Queenstown. Talented opener Upul Tharanga made 103, his second century in limited-overs internationals, to lead the tourist to 255 for seven batting first after losing the toss.

New Zealand relied heavily on Astle to surpass that score, reaching 256 for five from the last ball of the 48th over as rain, which had previously interrupted the innings, began to set in. - AP

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