Mendis stars in SL ODI win
Ajantha Mendis (Gallo Images)
Hambantota - Jeevan Mendis grabbed three wickets as Sri Lanka clinched the one-day series against New Zealand with a comfortable seven-wicket win in the fourth match in Hambantota on Saturday.
Sri Lanka achieved a rain-revised target of 131 off 32 overs with more than five overs to spare to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. The opening one-dayer was called off without a ball being bowled due to rain.
It was Sri Lanka's third successive win under the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method in the rain-hit series.
Opener Dinesh Chandimal (43), playing his first match of the series after replacing unfit opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Kumar Sangakkara (42 not out) added 87 for the second wicket to ensure their team's victory.
Sangakkara hit one six and five fours in his 55-ball knock.
Leg-spinner Ajantha Mendis (3-15) earlier bowled Kane Williamson and Nathan McCullum with googlies in his third over before trapping Andrew Ellis leg-before in his next over, his three wickets coming off just five balls.
Man-of-the-match Mendis was superbly backed by fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara, who finished with 2-17 off five overs.
Sri Lanka, who elected to field after winning the toss in overcast conditions, put in an impressive bowling performance to restrict New Zealand.
Brendon McCullum, who smashed left-arm spinner Rangana Herath over long-off for the first six of the match, top-scored for the tourists with 30 while Williamson and James Franklin each made 21.
Sri Lanka got an early wicket when Kulasekara had opener Rob Nicol (11) caught by Upul Tharanga at mid-on in his third over.
Opener Bradley-John Watling, who scored half-centuries in the last two matches, could make just 15 this time as he was run out while skipper Ross Taylor made six before being caught behind off seamer Thisara Perera.
New Zealand suffered another blow when hard-hitting McCullum fell attempting a big shot, caught by Chandimal at long-on off Herath after hitting one six and two fours in his 44-ball knock.
New Zealand made two changes from the side that played the last match as they brought in Ellis and debutant paceman Adam Milne in place of Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram.
The fifth and final one-day international will be played at the same venue on Monday.