Nelson, New Zealand Tillakaratne Dilshan scored his 47th one-day half century to anchor a much-improved Sri Lanka to a morale-boosting eight-wicket victory on Thursday that kept their one-day series against New Zealand alive.
Dilshan, who has scored more than 10,000 one-day runs, had failed in the first two games of the five-match series with innings of nine and seven when Sri Lanka were dismissed cheaply and suffered seven and 10-wicket losses respectively at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
The 39-year-old struck 91 on Thursday at Saxton Oval in Nelson but was run out with his 23rd century in the offing and the visitors well in control of the game needing just a further 68 runs with 97 balls remaining.
Dinesh Chandimal was 27 not out as Sri Lanka made 2-277 with 3.4 overs remaining.
Dilshan’s opening partner Danushka Gunathilaka blasted a 45-ball 65, his first one-day international half century, after Sri Lanka’s bowlers were far more competitive, having been hammered for more than 100 runs in the first 10 overs of both of the first two games.
New Zealand were 1-47 after 10 overs on Thursday.
Five of New Zealand’s top six batsmen all got starts with Kane Williamson top scoring with 59, though they failed to build any big partnerships with the largest being 60 between Williamson and Tom Latham (42) for the second wicket.
New Zealand were reduced to five for 163 in the 33rd over but the tail ensured they saw out their full complement of overs.
Tim Southee, back after being rested for the first two games, belted two sixes and a four from the final three deliveries to finish on 18 not out to take New Zealand to 8-276.
The fourth game of the series is also in Nelson on Saturday.