Sri Lanka 276 all out (Mahela Jayawardene 94, Kumar Sangakkara 76, Tim Southee 3-59) lost to BLACKCAPS (Kane Williamson 103, Corey Anderson 47, Grant Elliott 44) by four wickets at Saxton Oval, Nelson.
Kane Williamson has made a spectacular return to the BLACKCAPS at Saxton Oval in Nelson.
The 24-year-old, who has been out for the past two matches after suffering a shoulder injury in his heroic double century in the second ANZ Test, picked up where he left off with a crucial 103 off 107 balls to earn the man of the match honours.
The BLACKCAPS rallied in the second innings to reach the target of 277 with 11 balls remaining to win the match by four wickets in a gutsy display.
It was highlighted by Williamson’s fifth ODI century and, once again, underlined his importance to this BLACKCAPS side and their chances at the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup which is only 24 days away.
It didn’t always look likely. When Williamson was joined by Grant Elliott (44) in the 16th over New Zealand was reeling at 63-3 but they steadied the ship with composure under fire.
The pair combined for an 88 run partnership which turned the match in the BLACKCAPS favour, before Corey Anderson (47 from 44 balls) and Luke Ronchi (21 from 15 balls) had crucial cameos to secure the victory.
The fourth ANZ ODI, which saw the BLACKCAPS go 2 – 1 up in the seven match series, displayed this team’s ability to fight when they have their backs against the wall.
For most of the second innings it looked like Sri Lanka had the ascendancy, but in the end the BLACKCAPS strength in their batting order right down to Daniel Vettori in the more familiar No.7 position got the job done.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews was the best of a sub-par bowling effort from the visitors as he claimed 1 for 16, but the skipper believed they lost the match by not scoring enough runs.
That same ability to fight was on full display in the BLACKCAPS’ bowling effort in the first innings. The bowling unit fought back in equally as impressive fashion when they claimed the final six wickets for only 31 runs.
Adam Milne has had a day of mixed emotions in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka in the ANZ ODI Series at the Saxton Oval in Nelson.
The Central Districts’ fast bowler led the fight back for the BLACKCAPS with a crucial over in the middle of the innings to record figures of 2 for 28 from 7 overs, before he was forced from the field with a suspected side-strain injury.
The visitors, who got off to a flying start with Tilakarante Dilshan (44) and Kumar Sangakkara (76) setting the tone, were restricted to 276 all out after 49.1 overs
The BLACKCAPS bowlers’ fight back was ignited by Milne who took two wickets in succession and had a chance for a hat-trick, but was off target against Lahiru Thirimanne.
Earlier in the day, BLACKCAPS Skipper Brendon McCullum lost the toss and his rival Angelo Matthews said it was an easy decision to bat first.
It paid off as the Sri Lankans looked irrepressible - 169-2 after 32 overs – and were on track for a total in excess of 300.
With a head full of steam and ripping it in at around 145km/h, Milne halted their progress when he claimed Sangakarra (caught at mid-wicket by Martin Guptill) and captain Mathews (caught Luke Ronchi) which was given after a successful review.
With Dilshan and Sangakarra departing, the onus fell on Mahela Jayawardene’s shoulders and the seasoned campaigner didn’t disappoint with a much-needed 94 off 82 balls.
All-rounder Corey Anderson claimed his wicket at a pivotal stage when he edged a ball fine down the leg side to deny him his 19th ODI hundred.
The BLACKCAPS bowling unit will be reasonably happy with their work in Nelson as they fought back to restrict the Sri Lankan total.
Tim Southee (3-59 from 10) had the ball swinging early and claimed the breakthrough when he trapped Karunaratne in front for five and picked up two more wickets in the death.
Mitchell McClenaghan (2-58 from 9.3), who dropped Sangakkara at backward square earlier in the innings, responded by claiming Thirimanne and was once again a key man in the final stages.
Meanwhile Milne, who was being assessed during the break, wasn’t the only injury concern from the first innings in Nelson.
New Zealand Cricket fans holding their breath when McCullum went careering into the advertising hoardings after saving a boundary and all-rounder Anderson also pulled up gingerly after crashing into a sturdy umbrella on the boundary.
Both shook off the injuries to complete the first innings with Anderson claiming a key wicket and McCullum taking an impressive sprawling catch to dismiss live-wire Thisara Perera (5) and then spectacularly run out Kulasekara in the final over.
The BLACKCAPS will have to rally this afternoon and bat well to chase down the 277 they have been set to win and to take the lead in the seven match series.
With the return of Williamson and Grant Elliott, the BLACKCAPS have arguably their best batting line-up of the series and opener Martin Guptill will look to build on his momentum from Saturday at Eden Park.
The ANZ International Series is currently tied at 1-all after the third ODI was rained out on Saturday at Eden Park.
The fifth match in the series is at the University Oval in Dunedin on Friday January 23.