Black Caps win again despite early wobble

A composed innings from Will Young backed up another dominant bowling performance as the Black Caps secured another comprehensive victory over Sri Lanka.

Matt Henry, Henry Shipley and Daryl Mitchell each snagged three scalps to take a six-wicket win at Seddon Park to seal a one-sided ODI series 2-0.

New Zealand dispatched the tourists for 157 in the 42nd over and, after stumbling to 21-3 in reply, Young (86no of 113) took command of the chase to see his side home with 17 overs to spare.

The 30-year-old has been given more chances in Tests, but with eight first-choice players via IPL commitments, he seized a rare opportunity in white-ball cricket to ensure the bowlers’ efforts would not go to waste.

After leading Sri Lanka for 76 runs in a triumph of 198 runs in the opener – before the second match was wiped out – the result completed an almost flawless week for the bowling group.

And as Henry is likely to be the only one expecting a significant workload at this year’s World Cup, the performance will encourage a team whose draft has been questioned.

The hosts enjoyed some relief from circumstances that reckless Sri Lankan batsmen could not adapt to. After the tourists raised their eyebrows by choosing to hit, Henry and Shipley shone on a surface that delivered a desirable level of bounce.

Henry in particular was almost unplayable, finding two early outside edges to remove Nuwanidu Fernando and Kusal Mendis before finishing 3-14 from 10 excellent overs.

Shipley went on to ask the questions that garnered a five wicket first sack at Eden Park, dismissing Angelo Mathews for a duck as Sri Lanka crept to 26-3 after 10 overs – the worst ODI power play period at Seddon Park.

Few improvements followed as Mitchell hit a double that owed more to mindless shots, with Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya sending de Silva simple catches.

Only Pathum Nissanka seemed comfortable and reached 50 from 58 balls, but then disaster struck. The opener knew there was no point as he poked close to the field, but couldn’t dissuade skipper Dasun Shanaka and offered Henry Nicholls a simple runout.

Shanaka teetered to 126-6 after 30 overs, but Shanaka was unable to make amends as he ran away from Shipley, before Hasaranga de Silva handed Mitchell a third. Henry and Shipley put the finishing touches as Sri Lanka completed their innings with a partnership-high of 31.

Unlike in the bowling unit, Finn Allen’s absence was quickly felt as Chad Bowes sent an early lead to the back as he drove Lahiru Kumara without the required width. Tom Blundell’s first ODI in three years was not a happy return, dropping his third ball to give Kumara a second wicket in his first over.

Mitchell became the next to include a popular form of dismissal, unable to account for the extra bounce during the cutout. And when skipper Tom Latham’s scratchy run continued, ending a brief stay by chipping over a horrendous shot in the 15th, the Black Caps were in trouble at 59-4.

The threat almost increased when Nicholls got lbw in the 19th over, which was wise to review as Shanaka’s pitch swung past the leg stump. But Young remained steadfast on the other side and soon put up a half-century, riding especially well through the inside.

Henry and Nicholls recorded the first 50-run stand of the match as New Zealand came within 50 runs of their target. And with Sri Lanka failing to make a breakthrough, attention turned to whether Young could complete a third ODI ton.

But there wasn’t enough to chase as Nicholls (44 no) started batting fluidly and lifted the pair’s lead to an unbeaten 100 before scoring the winning runs.