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Gunathilaka carries Sri Lanka to eight-wicket win

Dilshan and Thirimanne too score fifties to chase down 277 in third ODI, and keep series against New Zealand alive

Gunathilaka carries Sri Lanka to eight-wicket win - Cricket News
Sri Lanka started its chase on a positive note through an opening partnership of 98 runs between Gunathilaka and Dilshan.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne and Danushka Gunathilaka made half-centuries to help Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by eight wickets in the third One-Day International at the Saxton Oval in Nelson on Thursday (December 31).
After having restricted New Zealand to 276 for 8, Sri Lanka started its chase on a positive note through an opening partnership of 98 runs between Gunathilaka and Dilshan.
Playing his fourth ODI, Gunathilaka was aggressive in scoring 65 off 45 balls – his maiden ODI half-century. He hit seven fours and four sixes, and was particularly severe on Adam Milne, whom he hit for 28 runs in 16 balls.

Gunathilaka was dismissed in the 13th over when Mitchell McClenaghan had him caught by Ross Taylor in the slips. By then, he had set the tone for victory, which was achieved with 22 balls to spare, while Gunathilaka’s knock also fetched him a maiden Man of the Match award.
Once the opener was dismissed, Thirimanne joined Dilshan at the middle as Sri Lanka’s batsmen continued to dominate. The pair added 111 runs at brisk speed to take the team further onwards in its quest to end 2015 with a victory and keep the series alive.
Dilshan fell in the 34th over for a 92-ball 91 when Taylor ran him out while going for a difficult single, but Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal ensured that there were no further speed-breaks, adding an unbroken 68 runs for the third wicket.
Thirimanne remained unbeaten on 87 off 103 balls, while Chandimal helped himself to 27 not out.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand rode on Kane Williamson, the stand-in captain in the absence of an injured Brendon McCullum, to post a competitive total.
Williamson made 59, and there were healthy contributions from Martin Guptill (30), Tom Latham (42), Mitchell Santner (38) and Doug Bracewell (30) too.

Williamson’s knock helped him finish the year with ,2692 runs from 46 innings across formats, the third highest tally ever, behind Kumar Sangakkara (2,868 runs in 57 innings in 2014) and Ricky Ponting (2,833 runs in 58 innings in 2005).
Williamson was the fifth wicket to fall in the 33rd over, but regular dismissals on either side of his knock meant that New Zealand didn’t get much momentum going till the last stages, where late hitting by Doug Bracewell helped the total along.

Dushmantha Chameera was Sri Lanka’s most impressive bowler, as he returned figures of 10-0-38-2. Nuwan Pradeep and Jeffrey Vandersay too picked up two wickets each.
Vandersay, in fact, provided the game changing moment of the day when he accounted for Latham and Taylor in the space of three deliveries to reduce New Zealand to 102 for 3. They were the 25-year-old legspinner’s first two ODI wickets, playing in his second international.
The fourth ODI of the five-match series will be in Nelson on Saturday.

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