By M. Shamil Amit reporting from Pallekele
Colin Grandhomme and Ross Taylor guided New Zealand to a thrilling five-wicket win with three balls to spare in the first of three T20 Internationals played at the Pallekele Stadium in Kandy today (01).
The pair associated in a match winning 79-run stand for the fourth-wicket in 37 balls with Taylor making a top score of 48 runs.
Taylor’s dismissal saw the rains coming down and the proceedings were halted but New Zealand were well ahead at that stage according to Duckworth/Lewis.
The required run-rate at that stage was 139 but the Kiwis had 144 runs on the board.
However, Taylor was dropped at mid-wicket when he was on 33 and that proved to be costly.
On resumption after a 20-minute delay, Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner were associated in an unbroken 31-run partnership as New Zealand went one up in the three-match series.
Debutant Wanindu Hasaranga had a successful start bagging two wickets which also included the wicket of Taylor.
Earlier, Sri Lanka Skipper Lasith Malinga won the toss and electing to take first lease of the wicket.
They were given a solid start by the openers Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera who sent the New Zealand bowlers on a leather hunt.
The pair accumulated runs at will and added 41 runs off just 27 balls.
Mendis found a reliable partner in Niroshan Dickwella who gave his senior partner the much needed support and in the process Mendis raced to his half century in 35 balls which had six boundaries and a six.
Mendis was given a life and was dropped by Ish Sodhi off Santner when he was 55.
The pair went on to add a valuable 63 runs in just 42 balls for the third-wicket.
Mendis made a well compiled 79 in 53 balls inclusive of eight boundaries and two sixes.
Dickwella and Dasun Shanuka then put on a brief 28-run stand for the fourth-wicket before Isuru Udana blasted two successive sixes off Seth Rance to help Sri Lanka end with a score of 174 for four.