Hamilton: Sri Lanka ruised to a six-wicket win in the second one-day international against New Zealand today, thanks to a masterful century from Tillakaratne Dilshan and a comedy of errors from the Black Caps.
Dilshan scored 116 as the visitors comfortably overhauled New Zealand's first innings total of 248 to level the seven-match series 1-1, with Angelo Mathews (39) and Kumar Sangakkara (38) also making valuable contributions.
Their efforts came after New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and put the hosts in a strong position with a big-hitting 117, only for his teammates to squander any chance of victory through a series of basic mistakes.
The Black Caps lost four wickets to run-outs and a clumsily conceded stumping, effectively handing the match to Sri Lanka. "That's cricket, it's not ideal but it's one of those crazy things," bowler Matt Henry said.
Mathews' men struck early when opener Martin Guptill departed for 10 trying to loft Nuwan Kulasekara over mid-off, offering an easy catch to continue an indifferent run of form at international level.
McCullum responded to the setback with typical aggression, bringing up his second consecutive 50 in 39 balls, including eight boundaries. He continued to blast away even when Mathews' decision to use a second spinner paid dividends as Rangan Herath coaxed an outside edge to dismiss Tom Latham for five.
With fellow veteran Ross Taylor grafting at the other end, McCullum completed his century with a boundary after 88 balls. It was only the fifth time in 203 one-day innings that McCullum has managed to covert his 28 half centuries into a ton, sending a message to World Cup rivals that he is finally reproducing his Test form in the limited overs arena.
But his departure sparked a collapse that raises serious questions about New Zealand's batting depth as they lost four wickets for 14 runs. Dan Vettori lasted only eight balls before he was run out for seven and Taylor was sent packing on 34 when he skied a
Herath delivery trying to push the pace.
Luke Ronchi did not face a ball before he was run out and Corey Anderson (5) was caught short of his crease chasing a quick single in the next over. Nathan McCullum then had a rush of blood to the head that saw him become New Zealand's fourth run-out, just one short of the all-time record in ODIs.
Adam Milne at least added some variety when he took a wild swing at Sachithra Senanayake's delivery and his momentum sent him stumbling out of the crease, allowing wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara to stump him for 19.
Trent Boult (13) added two sixes but was caught trying for a third off the last ball of the innings. Sri Lanka began confidently in reply, with openers Dilshan and Dimuth Karunaratne racing to a 64-run partnership before Nathan McCullum trapped the latter lbw for 21.
Dilshan went on to notch his 19th ODI century, the ninth highest of any player in the game, finally falling when he mis-timed a pull shot just a few balls before Sri Lanka sealed the win.
The next match in the series, which both teams are using to fine-time their preparations for the World Cup in February-March, is in Auckland on Saturday.