Sri Lanka savour first taste of victory

Tillakaratne Dilshan scored his 47th one-day half century to anchor a much-improved Sri Lanka to a morale-boosting eight-wicket victory on Thursday that kept their one-day series against New Zealand alive.

Dilshan, who has scored more than 10,000 one-day runs, had failed in the first two games of the five-match series with innings of nine and seven when they were dismissed cheaply and suffered seven and 10-wicket losses at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The 39-year-old struck 91 on Thursday at Saxton Oval in Nelson but was run out with his 23rd century in the offing and the visitors well in control of the game needing just a further 68 runs with 97 balls remaining.

Lahiru Thirimanne also finally found some form after being dismissed for one in both Christchurch games to score his 16th half century and finished on 87 not out as Sri Lanka finally achieved their first win on their tour of New Zealand.

Dinesh Chandimal was 27 not out as Sri Lanka made 277-2 with 3.4 overs remaining.

Dilshan's opening partner Danushka Gunathilaka blasted a 45-ball 65, his first ODI half century, after Sri Lanka's bowlers were far more competitive having been hammered for more than 100 runs in the first 10 overs of both of the first two games.

Five of New Zealand's top six batsmen all got starts with Kane Williamson top scoring with 59, though they failed to build any big partnerships with the largest being the 60 runs put on between Williamson and Tom Latham (42) for the second wicket.

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