After a new-look New Zealand destroyed India in the first match of the tri-series, they now faced the home side Sri Lanka. A win here would have taken New Zealand a step closer to the final. But, Sri Lanka had other ideas as they won the match comfortably with 55 balls to spare, just missing the crucial bonus point by 5 balls.

Ross Taylor had again done the first thing right, that is to win the toss and bat first. New Zealand once more found themselves 3 wickets down for 40 odd runs, just like in their match against India. This time though, they could not manage a big fight back and could only post a total of 192 all out in 48.1 overs.  The shining point in the innings was the half century by debutant opener Watling, who scored 55 in good time. On the other hand, Kane Williamson, who made his debut in the match against India, achieved a dubious feat of scoring a duck in his first 2 innings as he failed to trouble the scorers again. For Sri Lanka, it was a good all round effort in the field led by Malinga and Matthews, both taking 3 wickets each.

Chasing 192 under lights at Dambulla can be a tricky affair and a decent start is a necessity. Sri Lanka were given a jolt early as Mills dismissed Dilshan for just 5. But, after that, the cool and calm Sangakkara (48), along with solid Tharanga (70) took Sri Lanka to safety. The match was always in control of Sri Lanka and they decided to press for the bonus point, for which they had to win in 40 overs or less. This led to promotion of Kulasekara and Herath ahead of specialist batsman Kapugedera. In this quest, Sri Lanka lost few wickets and the match got a bit interesting with Sri Lanka on 180/7. Then, Kapugedera came in and finished off the match, though Sri Lanka missed the bonus point by a whisker.

Tharanga won the Man-of-the-Match for his steady 70 and Sri Laka opened their account in the series. Since New Zealand won with a bonus point against India, they remain top of the points table, with Sri Lanka on second.

India face Sri Lanka in the next match on Monday, needing to get their act together quickly. Let us hope that Sehwag and Raina (who have come home for a 2 day break in middle of the series) return rejuvenated, all guns blazing and India put up a much better performance. The tournament has opened up and any of the 3 teams can reach the finals. Let us hope India is one of them.

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