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Kaluwitharana steers SL to victory

Romesh Kaluwitharana steered Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over New Zealand after Muralitharan had put the hosts in control.

india Updated: May 13, 2003 21:06 IST

Opener Romesh Kaluwitharana steered Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over New Zealand on Tuesday after Prabath Nissanka and offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan had put the hosts in control of the tri-series limited-overs international.

Nissanka and Muralitharan took five wickets between them as New Zealand was skittled for 139 in 43.1 overs after being sent in to bat first by Sri Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu, who won the toss in a rain-delayed match that was shortened to a 46-over contest.

Kaluwitharana, returning to the opener's role he filled during Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup triumph, compiled a 119-ball 48 on a difficult batting track, as Sri Lanka coasted to 143 for five in 43.4 overs.

Kaluwitharana shared a brisk 68-run opening stand with former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya, who scored 33 from 52 balls before hooking Kiwi medium-pacer Jacob Oram to Daniel Vettori at deep fineleg.

Oram went on to claim the wickets of Kumar Sangakkara (1) and Kaluwitharana to finish with three for 12 from nine overs as Sri Lanka's middle order struggled before the home team secured its first win of the series.

In earlier matches, Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 79 runs before losing by seven wickets to New Zealand.

Sri Lanka's nerves were evident as it lost three wickets in the space of four runs, but reached home with 14 balls to spare. Atapattu's decision to send New Zealand into bad paid dividends inside the first two overs.

New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming (2) edged an outswinger from Nissanka to Kumar Sangakkara at second slip on the 10th delivery of the innings and with the total at six.

Opener Chris Nevin (12) misjudged a run and was beaten by a direct throw from Atapattu at short cover and, two balls later, Scott Styris (0) was out when Sangakkara snapped a low catch at second slip off Nissanka, reducing New Zealand to 18 for three.

Muralitharan had figures of 3-16, while Nissanka returned 2-11.

Chris Harris remained unbeaten 20, watching as wickets tumbled with Muralitharan trapping Brendon McCullum (0) and Daryl Tuffey (2) lbw, while Kyle Mills (6) was bowled by offspinning allrounder Kumar Dharmasena, who was one of the three changes in the Sri Lankan team that lost the series opener to Pakistan.

Earlier, Chris Cairns struck two boundaries in his 14 before becoming debutante medium-pacer Dharshana Gamage's maiden international wicket, mistiming an intended straight drive to loft an easy return catch.

Lou Vincent and Oram (20) then shared a fruitful 48-run fourth-wicket stand before Muralitharan took a return catch to send Oram back with the score at 5-94.

Vincent's 72-ball innings of 32 culminated when left-arm spinner Jayasuriya trapped him lbw with an arm ball.

New Zealand made an injury-enforced change with Mills replacing leading paceman Shane Bond, who was sidelined with back pain.


First Published: May 13, 2003 10:20 IST