Black Caps opener BJ Watling plays a shot during New
Zealand's fourth one-day international against Sri Lanka in
Hambantota yesterday. Photo from Reuters.
Another day and another rain-interrupted loss - New
Zealand's tour of Sri Lanka has taken on an all-too-familiar
The hosts clinched the one-day series overnight with a
seven-wicket win, again aided in part by the Duckworth-Lewis
method, in the fourth ODI at Hambantota.
That gave Sri Lanka a 3-0 lead in the series heading into
today's fifth game, before the sides meet in a two-match test
series beginning next weekend.
All five scheduled matches on the tour to date have been
affected to some degree by rain and yesterday was no
With the heavens opening before the start of play the match
was reduced to 42 overs before a ball was bowled, but it was
not long before the rain returned.
In truth, the break probably aided New Zealand's chances of
victory, given they had slumped to 107-7 when the teams were
forced from the field in the 30th over. Once the skies
cleared, the Black Caps batted out their full allotment of 32
overs to set Sri Lanka 131 for victory.
The home side experienced none of the troubles the touring
batsmen endured, cruising to the target only three down and
with 34 balls to spare.
"It was a tough loss," said captain Ross Taylor. "Sri Lanka
played smart cricket. The toss had a big part to play in the
match, but they deserve their victory.
"We didn't bat as well as we would've liked. On wickets that
suited the seam bowlers, today it would've been nice to give
our bowlers 30 or 40 more runs to play with."
But no-one in the Black Caps' batting order truly got going.
Brendon McCullum top-scored with 30, while the best
partnership of the innings was just 32 runs for the fifth
The effort continued a worrying trend of insufficient totals
from New Zealand, a side which has only three half-centuries
to their name (two from BJ Watling) so far on the tour.
It also prolonged a poor run of results stretching back to
the home series against Zimbabwe last summer.
Since beating the minnows in the second twenty/20 in
February, New Zealand has played 35 matches in all forms of
the game and has emerged victorious in just four of them.
Three draws and three wash-outs also featured, but the 25
losses make for dire reading.
With a record like that looming over them, New Zealand should
not struggle for motivation in the final one-dayer.
Especially considering, with the tests against Sri Lanka
being followed by a daunting tour of world No 1 South Africa,
the dead rubber may be this team's best chance of grabbing
another win for some time.
"We've just got to stick together and put a performance
together worthy of the New Zealand cricket team," Taylor
"A 3-1 score obviously sounds a lot better than 4-0 and we
want to send the ODI players who are going home off on a good