The Black Caps will be pleased to see the back of the
Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, a ground that has
brought only rain and pain in the last six weeks.
This morning's seven wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in the third
one-day international added to a forgettable run of results
for New Zealand at the Kandy ground going back to September's
Twenty20 World Cup.
They've won just one of their eight matches, including two
ties which resulted in super-over defeats to Sri Lanka and
West Indies - effectively knocking New Zealand out of the
After last week's one-off Twenty20 and the opening ODI were
both abandoned due to rain, they thought they had seen the
last of Pallekele but on their arrival in Colombo for the
next two matches a flooded ground saw them return to Kandy.
That coincided with more yet rain with Monday's result
decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system.
It was little surprise that today was no different with
players leaving they field for more than four hours across
two separate delays, cutting the game to a 33-over affair.
Sri Lanka chased down New Zealand's revised target of 197
with seven wickets in hand. Adding insult to injury,
Tillakaratne Dilshan continued his love affair of the
Pallekele pitch scoring his third century at the ground with
102 not out.
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor admitted after the defeat
that the rain and results were getting to the side.
"I guess it's just been a frustrating tour all round and
probably a frustrating ground to play at," he said. "We've
come so close in a lot of games here, Twenty20 World Cup and
the last two games we've had competitive totals. They should
have been enough to defend but, at the end of the day, they
"It is what it is. You've just to get on with it."
If there has been one positive so far from the tour, which
has also seen players having to check into hospital, it's
been the batting of BJ Watling.
The young Northern Districts batsman scored his second 50 of
the series with a brilliant 96 not out, despite the fact his
innings was split into three batting sessions.
Watling passed John Reid's 80 for the highest score by a New
Zealander against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and continues a rich
vein of form in the 50-over game following scores of 60, 72
and 40 in his previous three innings in the West Indies.
Despite producing his fourth 50 in five innings, he might
feel aggrieved because the shortened overs this morning
robbed him a decent shot at a maiden ODI ton. He needed to
hit a six off the final ball to reach three figures but could
manage only a single.
"I thought the way BJ Watling was out there was outstanding,"
Taylor said. "He just keeps growing and growing as a player
and the belief in himself, I'm sure, from the way he's
batting in the last two games is going to be outstanding for
himself but also the team.
"I guess competition is always good. He's not an automatic
selection but I'm sure the way he's been playing in the last
little while is pushing for that."
"He took risks. He hit the ball in the air, it wasn't all
along the ground. He showed the power game he has and once
again it's going to be good for his own confidence and half
the battle at this level is self-belief."
Taylor's side will need to ensure their frustrations don't
get the better of them.
Sri Lanka lead the one-day series 2-0 with two matches
remaining. The next match is in Hambantota on Saturday night
"Hopefully there's better weather," Taylor said. "I guess
there's more frustration creeping in. I expect more DVDs and
things in the hotel room."
- By Cameron McMillan of nzherald.co.nz