11 Nov 2012

Black Caps slide to third defeat

8:36 am on 11 November 2012

The New Zealand cricket team have suffered a seven-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day international at Hambantota.

In the fifth tour match out of five to be affected by rain, the Black Caps' frailty with the bat was exposed as they reached 131 for eight off a reduced 32 overs.

Chasing a target reduced by one run, the hosts cruised to 131 for three off 26.2 overs to go 3-0 up in the five-match series with one game remaining at the same venue on Monday. The first match was washed out.

Once again captain Ross Taylor lost the toss and it was no surprise his side were asked to bat when play finally began after a two and a half hour delay, AAP reports.

The top order worked hard against the early bounce and sideways movement of the Sri Lankan seamers but, following the early departure of Rob Nicol, it was the run-out of in-form opening partner BJ Watling for 15 that sparked a slide.

Brendon McCullum top-scored with 30 while Kane Williamson and James Franklin both contributed 21. However, they were cautious knocks rather than providing an aggressive end to the innings.

Nuwan Kulsekara took two for 17 with the new ball and Sri Lankan leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis recorded the best figures of three for 15 off four overs as he proved a handful for the New Zealand lower order.

The hosts never looked like falling short in response, with an 87-run second-wicket stand between opener Dinesh Chandimal (43) and Kumar Sangakkara (42 not out) knocking any fight out of New Zealand.

Pace bowler Adam Milne made his ODI debut for the Black Caps but, like the rest of the attack, had little impact as he took 0-21 off 4.2 overs.