Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara steered their team to a comprehensive win against New Zealand in the World Cup Super Eight match at the Grenada National Stadium on Thursday.
Electing to bat, the Kiwis posted a modest target of 220 runs for the loss of seven wickets. Scott Styris' fourth one-day international century went in vain as the Lankans registered a morale-boosting win with 29 balls remaining.
Seamer Chaminda Vaas was named the Man of the Match for his three for 33 in nine overs.
New Zealand now need just one more win to be certain of a semi-final spot. Though the loss saw them fall one short of equalling their 2004 record of 10 straight ODI wins.
Sri Lanka innings
After missing some good opportunities, the Black Caps got their first breakthrough in the fifth over of the innings. Displaying good foot-movement, Shane Bond grabbed a catch to dismiss opener Upul Tharanga off James Franklin's bowling.
Later, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara compiled 100 runs between them to take the run rate way beyond the required. Jacob Oram provided a much-needed breakthrough to the nervy Kiwis by scalping the Matara mauler at 64. But the damage had been done and all the Black Caps needed was a few quick dismissals to remain in the game.
Left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori became only the third New Zealander after Chris Harris (203) and Chris Cairns (200) to take 200 ODI wickets when he had Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene caught at mid-wicket by substitute fielder Hamish Marshall for 15. Chamara Silva replaced the exasperated skipper.
Sangakkara completed his 39th one-day half-century from 56 balls with one boundary and ended the match with a four off Gillespie. He remained unbeaten at 69.
New Zealand innings
Styris was the star of the Kiwi innings with his unbeaten streak of 111 that came off 157 balls.
As an established custom, Vaas provided early breakthroughs to his team by scalping two key wickets. He trapped Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming in the first over of the innings before removing Ross Taylor in the third. The batsmen departed for nought as the scoreboard read 4/2. This was Flemings's fourth straight duck against the Lankans.
Styris and Fulton could not sustain the fight for long as Vaas claimed his third wicket of the day. Peter Fulton hit a shot straight to Silva at deep square-leg only to return at 28. The fielder caught another catch in the 23rd over dismissing Craig McMillan off Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling. The Kiwis seemed perturbed for obvious reasons.
Breaking the 64-run stand between Oram and and Styris, Tillakaratne Dilshan despatched the former for 31. Maharoof grabbed the measured catch at long-on. He was replaced by Brendon McCullum, who returned for an insignificant score. The batsman was manifestly upset over the umpire's decision to give an lbw.
Styris fought a lone battle against the Lankans as the middle order failed to offer a substantial support. The next to go was Vettori off Murali's delivery. The 8th wicket partnership between Franklin and Styris brought 64 crucial runs for the Black Caps, including a six off the former.
The Black Caps made two changes in their side, recalling batsman Ross Taylor in place of Hamish Marshall and paceman Mark Gillespie, who is yet to play a match in this World Cup due to a shoulder problem, replacing off-spinner Jeetan Patel.
Sri Lanka played Farveez Maharoof in place of injured fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who is at the top of the tournament bowling averages.
New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Stephen Fleming (captain), Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Daniel Vettori, James Franklin, Shane Bond, Mark Gillespie.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), Mahela Jaywardene (captain), Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Farveez Maharoof, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando.