BLACKCAPS 360-5 (Luke Ronchi 170*, Grant Elliot 104*, Lahiru Thirimanne 2-36) beat Sri Lanka (252) by 108 runs (Dilshan 116, Thirimanne 46, Trent Boult 4 - 44) by at the University Oval in Dunedin.
The BLACKCAPS were in trouble in the first innings of the 5th ANZ ODI against Sri Lanka in Dunedin before Luke Ronchi came to the rescue and ripped up the record books in emphatic fashion.
The 33-year-old from the Wellington Firebirds, who got New Zealand home three days ago in Nelson with a crucial 32 from 15 balls, was the key man again today when he blasted an incredible maiden ODI century.
The wicketkeeper-batsman joined Grant Elliott at the crease when the home side was reeling at 93-5, but the pair notched up a world-record 267 run sixth wicket partnership to guide the BLACKCAPS to 360-5.
In reply, Sri Lanka, led by Tillakaratne Dilshan (116 off 106 balls) and skipper Lahiru Thirimanne 46, were looking to complete the highest ever chase on New Zealand soil and they began in buoyant mood in front of the crowd of 4,841.
But as soon as Dilshan departed, The Lions fell apart and the visitors were bowled out for 252 runs. The BLACKCAPS won by 108 runs and now hold a 3-1 lead in the ANZ International Series with two matches remaining.
With 15 overs left in the match, Sri Lanka were still in the contest, but a succession of quick wickets from Trent Boult, who recorded a career best 4 – 44 from his 10 overs, and Mitchell McClenaghan (2- 56 from 8 overs) swung the match back into the BLACKCAPS favour.
By the 40th, the climbing required run rate at 11.64 and the regular falling wickets took their toll and the Sri Lankan run chase petered out. Tim Southee completed the win when he claimed two quick wickets from the Sri Lankan tail.
The performance of the quick bowlers at the death will give BLACKCAPS coach Mike Hesson and his selectors more food for thought as they look to settle on their favoured pacemen in the build-up to ICC World Cup 2015.
Two names they can easily confirm to play a huge role are the day’s heroes.
Ronchi (170*) and Elliott (104*) surpassed the record for the sixth wicket partnership against all countries when they edged past the 165 set by Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum against Australia in Hamilton in 2006/07.
They weren’t finished there as they went on to break the world record for the highest partnership for the sixth wicket beating Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) and MS Dhoni’s (India) effort of 218 for the Asia XI against the Africa XI in Chennai in 2007.
Ronchi’s 170* was the fourth highest ODI innings for the BLACKCAPS in history and the highest ever score for a No.7 batsman in ODIs. The total of 360-5 was also the sixth highest score recorded by the national side.
The pair combined beautifully - Ronchi was the aggressor while Elliott was the mainstay.
Ronchi, an Australian-raised Kiwi, was dropped on 95 by Perera for a tough return catch, but it was the only moment of tension as he delivered another innings of real maturity in the middle.
He brought up his ton with a push to mid-on and then jumped for joy and fist-pumped the air to mark the milestone of the seventh fastest ODI century in BLACKCAPS history.
When he notched up the three figures, the shackles came off and Ronci went onto smash the Sri Lankan bowlers to all corners of University Oval. Thirimanne dropped Ronchi on 167, but by then the damage had been done.
To single out Ronchi is unfair on Elliott, who recorded his second ODI century in nonchalant fashion.
The oldest member of the BLACKCAPS squad at 35 continued his rich vein of form since returning to the side with an anchoring role of 104 from 96 balls as they combined for a record sixth-wicket partnership.
Elliott continued his fine day in Dunedin with two wickets with the ball and finished with figures of 2 for 42 off 9 overs.
At the start of the day, BLACKCAPS captain McCullum lost the toss and stand-in Sri Lankan skipper Thirimanne elected to bowl first on the green University Oval pitch.
The decision came with immediate reward with BLACKCAPS opener Martin Guptill caught behind on the first ball of the innings.
Kane Williamson (26) and McCullum (25) staged a brief fight back before the skipper was caught in front and Williamson departed soon after when he was caught by Kumar Sangakkara in the deep.
Ross Taylor (20) and Corey Anderson (8) also came and went which provided the stage for Ronchi and Elliott to shine.
Elliott was given a reprieve on 47 when Thirimanne put down a sharp chance, but it was one of a few moments when the pair looked to be not in complete control for a 30 over stretch.
This fifth ANZ ODI at University Oval will be remembered for the fight back led by Rochi and aptly supported by Elliott which rewrote many of the BLACKCAPS records.
Both are key weapons for the BLACKCAPS as they look to continue their solid build-up to ICC World Cup 2015 which is only 21 days away.
The ANZ International Series continues on Sunday with the 6th ANZ ODI against Sri Lanka at the same venue from 11am.