Cricket World Cup 2019: Ferguson, Henry skittle Sri Lanka for 136
Dimuth Karunaratne top-scored with an unbeaten half-century (AFP Photo)

New Zealand‘s pace attack made good use of a lively Sophia Gardens surface to bowl out Sri Lanka for 136 in 29.2 overs in game three of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Cardiff.

Sri Lanka’s top order was guilty of a couple loose shots, but full credit to New Zealand’s attack for inducing shots and repeatedly beating the bat to keep up the intensity. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne became only the second batsman in World Cup history to carry his bat through an innings as he witnessed his batting order crumble.

On a green-tinged surface with lively bounce, Sri Lanka’s problems began as early as the second ball of the match to which New Zealand successfully reviewed a a not-out lbw verdict against Lahiru Thirimanne. A few aggressive shots from Kusal Perera – with real shades of Sanath Jayasuriya – was followed by a collapse of four wickets for 13 runs.

On 29 off 24 balls, Perera mistimed a big hit off Henry towards mid-off. Next ball, the new man Kusal Mendis was hurried into a defensive prod by a ball that got big on him and the edge was well taken by a diving Martin Guptill at second slip. Matt Henry bowled a fine opening spell of 7-0-29-3, in which he concede just three fours.

The next to fall was Dhananjaya de Silva, beaten for pace by Lockie Ferguson and given lbw for four. The batsman did not review, wisely.

Colin de Grandhomme struck with his fourth ball, getting Angelo Mathews to tamely feather a catch to Tom Latham. The former Sri Lanka captain failed to score off his nine balls faced.

Backed by some terrific fielding inside the circle – Boult, in particular, was electric as he flung himself around to save runs – and fast work by the outfielders, New Zealand maintained their grasp on the innings.

Karunaratne looked the only one putting up some semblance of resistance. Thisara Perera struck two meaty sixes to raise hope of a late-late revival but soon ran out of patience, mis-timing a big shot to hole out at long-on for a brisk 23-ball 27. The partnership, Sri Lanka’s best, was worth 52 runs but Mitchell Santner broke it through the scalp of Perera after having dropping him off his own bowling in his first over.

Karunaratne top-scored with an unbeaten 52 off 84 – an innings that featured just four fours. He survived after hitting a bouncer from Ferguson into the hands of Santner but the third umpire ruled it as not out reckoning the ball had touched the grass. However, Ferguson soon had his third in the off delivery that followed, having last-man Lasith Malinga bowled for 1.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 136 in 29.2 overs (Dimuth Karunaratne 52*; Lockie Ferguson 3/22, Matt Henry 3/29) vs New Zealand