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11 January 201512:45

McCullum, Anderson star in three-wicket win

Mahela Jayawardena’s 107-ball 104 goes in vain in low-scoring game

McCullum, Anderson star in three-wicket win - Cricket News

Brendon McCullum's 51 in 22 balls provided New Zealand a great start.

Brendon McCullum’s cracking half-century at the top of the order and Corey Anderson’s 81 later in the script helped New Zealand register a comfortable three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in its first One-Day International at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Sunday (January 11).

Chasing 219, Brendon McCullum's 51 in 22 balls provided New Zealand a great start, and though there were more than a few jitters along the way, Anderson stepped up with his 96-ball effort to take New Zealand to the doorstep of victory. He fell ten runs short of the target, but Nathan McCullum and Adam Milne did the rest with seven overs left to bat.

Sri Lanka, having opted to bat, posted 218 for 9 on the back of Mahela Jayawardena's 104 in 107 balls.

Jayawardena, the fifth highest run-getter in ODIs, scored his 18th century, and was rarely in trouble until caught in a wicket meltdown late in the innings.

Although Jayawardena received little support in the middle overs, Sri Lanka had reason to believe its modest target was defendable when it removed Martin Guptill off the third ball of New Zealand's reply. But for Brendon McCullum, it was a signal to open up as he blazed away to bring up his 50 in just 19 deliveries with six fours and three sixes – it was the seventh fastest half-century of all time.

He had just crossed the mark before his innings was over as he was beaten in the air by Sachithra Senanayake and stumped by Kumar Sangakkara, and that triggered a mini New Zealand collapse. Three wickets fell for 13 runs in 27 balls as Kane Williamson and Grant Elliot followed McCullum back to the pavilion. Williamson was snared at first slip by a diving Jayawardena, who juggled the ball twice in his left hand before holding on.

Tom Latham was stumped then and New Zealand was 101 for 5 before Anderson and Luke Ronchi put the innings back on course with a stand of 48 for the sixth wicket, and Anderson then added 60 with Nathan McCullum in their seventh-wicket stand.

Tillakaratne Dilshan, who had Anderson out lbw, finished with 2 for 28 while Senanayake and Nuwan Kulasekara both took 2 for 43.

Apart from Jayawardena, there was little resistance in the Sri Lankan innings with Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis the only other players to get past 20.

Mitchell McClenaghan, who dismissed Jayawardena during a spell of three wickets in four balls late in Sri Lanka's innings, finished with 4 for 36.

The second game in the seven-match series will take place in Hamilton on Thursday.