BLACKCAPS 248 all out in 50.0 overs (Brendon McCullum 117, Ross Taylor 34) lost to Sri Lanka 252-4 (Tillakaratne Dilshan 116, Matt Henry 2-34) by six wickets at Seddon Park, Hamilton.
Centuries from Brendon McCullum and Tillakaratne Dilshan dominated the two innings, but while the latter received strong support from his top order, the story of the BLACKAPS second innings was four run outs that left them light on runs to defend. Sri Lanka batted steadily to win by six wickets with 14 balls to spare, and the series is now level at one all.
As at Hagley, Brendon McCullum got the BLACKCAPS off to a flyer. After one or two sighters, the skipper went after the Sri Lankan attack with aggression and power. The full range of shots were on display with some brutal cuts through the off side – and when the attack drifted down leg, they were dispatched to all parts of the ground.
Martin Guptill hit two fours on his way to ten, before driving straight to Angelo Matthews at mid off – and transplanted number three Tom Latham was unable to take advantage of plenty of time to bat, edging Rananga Herath to Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps for five.
McCullum brought up 50 from 39 balls, then charged on to his century – his first since 2012 – from 88 balls. He was let off on 104 when he went for a quick single and was turned back, stranded mid wicket, but the Sri Lankan fielders failed to get the bails off. McCullum went 13 runs later to a Jeevan Mendis return catch for 117.
From 3-158 in the 31st over, the BLACKCAPS slumped. Four run outs, including that of Luke Ronchi without facing a ball and just 15 runs for three wickets from the batting power play, ended their chances of posting the kind of score that looked likely early.
Dan Vettori (7), Corey Anderson (5), ROnchi (0) and Nathan McCullum (13) were the run out victims, in an extraordinary sequence, while Ross Taylor, who spent valuable time in the middle for his 34, hit Herath high to Thisara Perera at square leg for a comfortable catch.
Tail enders Adam Milne (19), Matt Henry (20) and Trent Boult, who hit two sixes in the final over before being caught from the last ball of the innings for 13, added some respectability to the total of 248, but on Hamilton’s fast outfield it didn’t feel enough.
The BLACKCAPS were unable to make the early breakthroughs they needed to put pressure on Sri Lanka – their top order all got starts and Tillakaratne Dilshan scored a magnificent 116 from 127 balls to ensure his side got well home.
Matt Henry was impressive with figures of 2-34 from his 9.4 overs, while Boult impressed with his variation with the older ball, and Vettori got through his ten for 40 runs.
The series is now level at one-all with the next match at Eden Park on Saturday.