Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
23 Jan, 2015 | 11:46 am
Sri Lanka slumped to another disappointing loss today in New Zealand despite a valiant ton by veteran opening batsman T.M. Dilshan. The 7 Match ODI series is far from over however after today’s win hosts New Zealand need only one more victory to clinch the series.
The day started positively for the lions at the University Oval in Dunedin as stand in skipper Lahiru Thirimanne won the toss and opted to field first. The decision seemed to swing in his favor during the initial stages of the game with Martin Guptill being dismissed for a first ball duck and 4 other New Zealand top order batsmen falling before the hosts reached the 100 run mark.
Grant Elliot and Luke Ronchi came out to the center to steady the rocky kiwi ship and ended up leading a record breaking comeback which saw the hosts end up with 360 runs in their allotted 50 overs. The pair took apart a lackluster bowling attack by the visitors hammering a total of 267 runs for the 6th wicket, surpassing the earlier record set for the 6th wicket which stood at 218 runs.
Ronchi hammered nine 6’s in a blistering 99 ball knock of 170 runs not out, a sensational knock to mark his maiden ODI century. Elliot at the other end also scored over run a ball and recorded his 2nd century.
Nuwan Kulasekara and Lahiru Thirimanne picked up 2 wickets each.
Chasing a steep 361 runs for victory, Sri Lanka got off to a promising start with the skipper putting on a 93 run first wicket stand along with T.M. Dilshan. Thirimanne was the first to fall as he was undone by Grant Elliot for 45 runs.
Kumar Sangakkara was undone for 9 runs while Mahela Jayawardene managed to score 30 at the other end. T.M. Dilshan kept playing sensibly while his partners were faltering and went on to score his 20th ODI century. Dilshan’s knock which included 17 boundaries and a six was the only bright point for Sri Lankan supporters as his dismissal triggered another middle order collapse.
The last 6 wickets of the Sri Lankan batting line up fell for a paltry 37 runs. Of the Sri Lankan batsmen only the opening pair and Mahela Jayawardene surpassed or reached the 30 run mark and only 2 other players managed to reach double figures. Ironically New Zealand gave away more extras than the scores of the last 5 Sri Lankan batsmen combined!
Sri Lanka were eventually bowled out for 252 runs in 43.4 overs, Tim Bolt picked up 4 wickets.
Elliot who picked up 2 scalps in addition to his century was adjudged the man of the match.
New Zeland lead the 7 match ODI series 3-1 needing only one more victory to clinch the decisive series ahead of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup which will be played in New Zealand and Australia.
(image courtesy : cricinfo)
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