NELSON: Ross Taylor posted his 20th One-day International century and Henry Nicholls scored his first as New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 115 runs here on Tuesday to sweep the three-match series 3-0.
Taylor made 137 and Nicholls 124 not out as New Zealand, batting first, reached 364-4 to post the highest total at the Saxton Oval, highlighting the growing depth of their batting as they work towards the World Cup in England.
Sri Lanka were all out for 249 in 41.4 overs in reply, threatening New Zealand’s total briefly especially when Thisara Perera was at the crease before again falling short.
Martin Guptill produced a superb diving catch to dismiss the dangerous Perera with a wicket that sparked a stunning collapse.
Guptill’s fingertip catch taken above his head and at full stretch to remove the burly all-rounder for 80 in 63 balls came at a pivotal moment in the chase, leaving the visitors on 244-6 in the 39th over and needing 121 more runs to win. But after Perera departed, Sri Lanka surrendered meekly.
Paceman Lockie Ferguson took 4-40 and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi snared 3-40 in the best performance by a New Zealand bowling unit which has been under pressure at times in the series.
But so great is the depth in New Zealand’s batting that Nicholls may be in danger missing selection if wicket-keeper and opening batsman Tom Latham is available.
Taylor became the first New Zealander to score 20 centuries in a single international cricket format and continued an extraordinary run of form which has seen him score 181 not out, 80, 86 not out, 54, 90 and 137 in his last six ODI innings.
New Zealand were 31-2 when Taylor went to the crease on Tuesday and he built partnerships of 116 with Williamson (55) and 154 with Nicholls to lead his team to a 300-plus total for the third time in the series. The total was inflated when New Zealand scored 69 from the last five overs.
Sri Lanka were on pace early in their run chase, reaching 66 in 8.1 before the loss of their first wicket. They went on to 107 in the 15th over before they started floundering.
M.J. Guptill c Mendis b Malinga 2
C. Munro b Malinga 21
K.S. Williamson c de Silva b Sandakan 55
L.R.P.L. Taylor c de Silva b Malinga 137
H.M. Nicholls not out 124
J.D.S. Neesham not out 12
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-5, W-6, NB-1) 13
TOTAL (for four wkts, 50 overs) 364
FALL OF WKTS: 1-16, 2-31, 3-147, 4-301.
DID NOT BAT: T.L. Seifert, T.H. Southee, M.J. Henry, I.S. Sodhi, L.H. Ferguson.
BOWLING: Malinga 10-1-93-3 (1w); Chameera 8-0-55-0; Pradeep 9-1-77-0 (1nb, 5w); N.L.T.C. Perera 2-0-8-0; Sandakan 10-0-54-1; Shanaka 6-0-36-0; de Silva 5-0-35-0.
N. Dickwella c Ferguson b Neesham 46
D.M. de Silva lbw Southee 36
M.D.K.J. Perera c Seifert b Ferguson 43
B.K.G. Mendis run out 0
M.D. Shanaka lbw b Sodhi 2
N.L.T.C. Perera c Guptill b Ferguson 80
M.D. Gunathilaka b Ferguson 31
P.V.D. Chameera c Southee b Ferguson 1
S.L. Malinga st Seifert b Sodhi 0
P.A.D.L.R. Sandakan not out 0
N. Pradeep b Sodhi 0
EXTRAS (LB-3, W-7) 10
TOTAL (all out, 41.4 overs) 249
FALL OF WKTS: 1-66, 2-107, 3-107, 4-117, 5-143, 6-244, 7-249, 8-249, 9-249.
BOWLING: Southee 7-0-46-1 (4w); Henry 8-0-62-0 (2w); Ferguson 8-0-40-0 (1w); Neesham 5-0-34-1; Williamson 5-0-24-0; Sodhi 8.4-0-40-3.
RESULT: New Zealand won by 115 runs to win three-match series 3-0.
UMPIRES: W.R. Knights (New Zealand) and P. Wilson (Australia).
TV UMPIRE: R.K. Illingworth (England).
MATCH REFEREE: R.B. Richardson (West Indies). MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Ross Taylor. FIRST MATCH: Mount Maunganui, New Zealand won by 45 runs.
SECOND MATCH: Mount Maunganui, New Zealand won by 21 runs.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019