Series drawn as Sri Lanka cruise to seven wicket win

Sri Lanka coasted to a seven wicket win over the BLACKCAPS at Central Broward Park in Fort Lauderdale to level the two match Pearls Cup series one-all.

After winning the toss and opting to bat the BLACKCAPS made a horror start as the Sri Lankan bowling attack took control of the game early on, restricting them to an inadequate 81 and then reaching the target in the 16th over.

The BLACKCAPS lost five early wickets with Aaron Redmond, Brendon McCullum, Rob Nicol, Ross Taylor and Gareth Hopkins all back in the pavilion inside five overs.

Nuwan Kulasekara was the destroyer, shattering the stumps of McCullum and trapping Nicol and Redmond LBW in one over.

Angelo Mathews then picked up the big wicket of Taylor, also trapped leg-before, while Hopkins was run-out as the BLACKCAPS slumped to 13 for five.

A useful 45 run partnership between Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum gave the scoreboard some respectability.  Vettori was the dominant player, hitting typically innovative shots on his way to 27 off 24 balls before unluckily being given out caught behind off Ajantha Mendis.

His wicket sparked a fatal collapse that saw the last four wickets fall for just 23 runs.  Nathan McCullum tried to bat around the tail but was left stranded on 36 not out as the BLACKCAPS were rolled in 17.3 overs.

Kulasekara was the most impressive, taking three for four off three overs while Lasith Malinga finished with three for 12 off 2.3.

In contrast, Sri Lanka looked comfortable from the outset with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thissara Perera sharing a 44 run partnership for the second wicket after Oram took the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene early on for 17.

Nathan McCullum was rewarded with the wicket of Perera who hit a quick 25 and Kumar Sangakkara for five to finish with tidy figures of two for 15 and cap an impressive match for the BLACKCAPS all-rounder.

Dilshan, who anchored the innings, hit 33 not out to seal the victory.


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