BLACKCAPS 315-8 (Kane Williamson 97, Ross Taylor 96, Corey Anderson 40, Dhammika Prasad 2-54) beat Sri Lanka 195 all out (Kumar Sangakkara 81, Lahiru Thirimanne 29 Anderson 4-52 ) by 120 runs at the University Oval in Dunedin.
The BLACKCAPS will head into the ICC Cricket World Cup in February with plenty of confidence after a comprehensive 4-1 series win over Sri Lanka in the ANZ ODI Series.
The victory means the BLACKCAPS have won three of their last four ODI series, and five of their last 10 in the era when Brendon McCullum has been the skipper.
The home side, who wrapped up the series with one match remaining, set the Sri Lankans 315-8 in the sixth ANZ ODI at the University Oval in Dunedin.
Again the visitors threatened to construct a decent chase – with Kumar Sangakkara the main force with 81 off 66 balls – but ultimately they failed to stay in the series when they finished 120 runs short.
When Sangakkara departed in the 38th over, the Lions’ run chase was a slow death that eventually finished in the 41st over.
While the BLACKCAPS are counting down the days to the ICC Cricket World Cup opener on February 14, the Sri Lankans will need to do some soul searching as they were totally outclassed again.
ANZ Man Of The Match Corey Anderson (4-52 from 10 overs) was the hero of the bowling effort alongside Daniel Vettori and Trent Boult who were at their miserly best.
All of the team played their part in the field with three run-outs, but the Sri Lankans didn’t do themselves any favours with some calamitous unforced errors.
While the bowling effort was notable, the talking point of the day was the return to form of Ross Taylor who went some way to discovering some of his best touch.
The 30-year-old from the Central Stags built a patient innings of 96 from 102 balls with Kane Williamson (97 from 95 balls) in the middle of the order as they combined for a 117 run partnership.
Williamson, the most consistent of the BLACKCAPS batting line-up, crafted another fine innings before he was run out only three short of his fifth ODI century in a messy mix-up with Taylor.
The 24-year-old, who boasts an average of 43.78 from his 62 ODIs, was again a key contributor when in his innings of 114 minutes that included eight fours and two sixes.
The onus then fell on the Taylor to carry on with the job and he did so, building a 78 run partnership with Anderson (40 off 28 balls) to continue the momentum.
Taylor got back to some of his vintage form with a number of scything cuts through his favoured point region. Later in the innings, he used his feet to hit two beautiful sixes down the ground to underline that he was feeling more at home.
He too was undone in the 90s when Tillakaratne Dilshan hit him on the front foot with a full toss to send him on his way. Taylor reviewed the decision, but he knew his fate and was already on the edge of the boundary when the dismissal was confirmed.
However, his innings will please Batting Coach Craig McMillan and Coach Mike Hesson no end as now all of the BLACKCAPS batting line-up have contributed to the scoring in this ANZ International Series.
Earlier, Sri Lankan skipper Lahiru Thirimanne lost the toss and BLACKCAPS captain Brendon McCullum opted to bat first.
Openers McCullum (1) and Martin Guptill (28) failed to take advantage of the favourable batting conditions before Williamson and Taylor set up the innings by batting time.
Anderson, the former world-record holder for the fastest ODI century (36 balls), delivered a stirring cameo of big hitting before he was caught on the long leg boundary.
Hesson re-shuffled the batting order and the hero from the 5th ANZ ODI, Luke Ronchi was met with a big round of applause from the Dunedin faithful.
The bully from the world-record partnership with Grant Elliott (267) got straight back into the groove with a boundary off his first ball, but he couldn’t recapture the magic and chipped one into the deep for 13 in the 48th over.
Elliott was joined by Daniel Vettori, who today became the most capped BLACKCAP in ODI with 280 appearances, briefly before the former captain was run out on three. On the final ball of the innings, Kyle Mills went the same way without facing a ball.
The BLACKCAPS weren’t totally satisfied with their batting effort, but it was good enough to get the job done and complete the ANZ ODI Series win.
They have one more ODI against Sri Lanka in Wellington before taking on Pakistan in a two match series to complete their ICC Cricket World Cup preparation.