New Zealand romp to seven-wicket triumph in first ODI against Sri Lanka

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New Zealand picked up where they left off in the Test series and cruised to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international in Christchurch on Boxing Day.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews may have regretted his decision to bat first when his team slumped to 27 for five, before Milinda Siriwardana (66) and Nuwan Kulasekara (58) dug deep the help the tourists recover to 188 all out from 47 overs. Matt Henry finished with four for 49 and Doug Bracewell three for 37.

But the Black Caps, who completed a 2-0 Test series triumph earlier this month, made light work of their run-chase. Openers Martin Guptill (79) and Brendon McCullum (55) laid the foundations, and the hosts got over the line - ODI debutant Henry Nicholls hitting the winning runs - with 29 overs to spare.

Danushka Gunathilaka (eight) was first to depart for Sri Lanka, caught behind by Luke Ronchi off the bowling of Adam Milne - a decision given after a review.

Fellow opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (nine) followed suit soon after when he top-edged a pull to Nicholls at mid-wicket to become Henry's first victim.

Lahiru Thirimanne (one) was trapped lbw by Henry and Mathews fell to a first-ball duck when he edged to a diving Tom Latham at second slip.

Siriwardana fended off the next delivery from Henry to avert the hat-trick, but the paceman continued his assault in his next over when he induced a nick from Dinesh Chandimal (five) which was gobbled up by Ross Taylor at first slip.

Siriwardana in the 14th over became the first Sri Lanka batsman to reach double figures courtesy of a single off Henry.

The left-hander survived a scare in the following over when he miscued a pull over mid-wicket and was dropped by Nicholls.

Chamara Kapugedera was not so lucky, however. He contributed eight before driving straight into the hands of Mitchell Santner at short cover to give Bracewell the first of his three scalps.

Siriwardana and Kulasekara joined forces at 65 for six and shared a 98-run wicket seventh-wicket stand - by far the tourists' best partnership.

The former was finally sent on his way in the 39th over when he lofted a slower ball from Bracewell to captain McCullum at mid-off.

Kulasekara fell in the following over when Ronchi held on for an amazing one-handed catch off Mitchell McClenaghan.

McClenaghan accounted for Ajantha Mendis (four), also caught behind, in his next over to leave Sri Lanka 167 for nine.

Dushmantha Chameera (13 not out) and Suranga Lakmal (eight) rallied in a 21-run final-wicket stand before the latter pulled a short delivery from Bracewell to Latham at deep mid-wicket, but the tourists' modest total never looked like testing New Zealand.

Guptill and McCullum were fast out of the blocks, sharing a 108-run opening partnership.

McCullum, who announced earlier this week that he would retire from international cricket in late February, plundered 11 fours and one six on his way to a 25-ball 55. His knock came to an end in the 11th over, when he sliced to Lakmal at backward point off the bowling of Siriwardana.

Latham managed 18 before being undone by a Dilshan yorker, before t he dismissal of Guptill - holing out to Kulasekara at long-off to give Siriwardana his second wicket - brought Nicholls out to the middle with the score on 164.

And the 24-year-old local boy capped a fine debut with a tidy 23-run cameo, sealing the comfortable triumph with his fifth boundary, off Mendis, from the final ball of the 21st over.

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