Muttiah Muralitharan took three wickets as New Zealand slumped to 106 for 6 at the Wankhede Stadium.
Defending 265 after Kumar Sangakkara’s first ODI century since June 2008 the pace bowlers kept New Zealand pinned down with two early wickets before the spinners took over to leave Sri Lanka firmly in control by the halfway stage.
Brendon McCullum started positively, cracking a couple of boundaries square of the wicket, but fell for 14 when Angelo Mathews was introduced. Mathews had earlier lifted the Sri Lanka total beyond 250 with a hard-hitting 41 at the end of the innings and carried the form into his bowling. The scalp was not without controversy though, as McCullum edged low to Mahela Jayawardene at slip. Jayawardene had earlier been reprieved after standing his ground when he gave Nathan McCullum a low return catch. Despite clear side-on views suggesting the chance was taken, the third umpire ruled in favour of the batsman and New Zealand were left fuming.
Their mood would not have improved after Brendon McCullum’s dismissal, but replays showed the correct decision was made. Martin Guptill has been a useful front-foot foil to McCullum’s back-foot approach at the top of New Zealand’s order but he was soon out as well when Nuwan Kulasekara slid one back into his pads. Guptill edged down to his partner Jesse Ryder hoping for a call to review, but Ryder only confirmed the obvious.
Ross Taylor then set about rebuilding the chase with Ryder and, without ever looking fluent, the pair began to threaten. Lasith Malinga’s fourth over went for 16 runs but should instead have brought the dismissal of both. First Ryder flipped an uppish pick-up pull through a napping Upul Tharanga’s hands at midwicket and three balls later Taylor slashed an upper-cut in the direction of Kulasekara at third man. Misjudging, the fielder hared in, found the ball upon him and tipped the chance over his head and over the rope for six.
Ryder was still searching for his best form when Ajantha Mendis was introduced. Though his mystery fades with experience Mendis still has the variations to confuse. Ryder misread a carom-ball to edge behind for 19.
With his captain secure at the other end Kane Williamson only had to hang around for a while but he instead fell foul to carelessness. Muttiah Muralitharan’s introduction had been delayed until the 18th over after he injured himself trying to dive into his crease when batting. But Muralitharan was soon smiling as Williamson dragged his back foot out of the crease groping at a doosra. In a flash Sangakkara had the bails off and Williamson was on his way for 5.
Muralitharan then landed the killer blow two overs later. Taylor, in good touch, was New Zealand’s last realistic hope of mounting a challenge but he fell to an offspinner that spun back from an around-the-wicket angle to trap him on the pads in front.
Despite the ball dampening up when the dew arrived both spinners had Scott Styris and James Franklin in knots and Muralitharan was soon celebrating again when Scott Styris popped back a return catch. Agencies