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'Rubbish' New Zealand suffer worst defeat

January 06, 2007 17:06 IST

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming described his team's performance as "rubbish" after they suffered their heaviest one-day defeat against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

The Kiwis were thrashed by 189 runs after collapsing for just 73 in the fourth one-day international at Auckland, allowing Sri Lanka to level their five-game series at 2-2.

Sri Lanka skittled the New Zealanders in less than 27 overs -- their second-lowest total in limited-overs internationals -- after posting 262 for six in their own innings.

"It was rubbish, totally unacceptable," Fleming said in a televised interview.

"The first half of the game was normal, the second half was comical."

Chaminda Vaas (3-10) and fellow-seamer Lasith Malinga (3-14) captured six wickets between them, while off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan polished off the tail with 2-7.

Had it not been for an unbeaten 29 by all-rounder Craig McMillan, New Zealand might have threatened their lowest one-day total of 64, which came against Pakistan in Sharjah in 1985-86

But the margin of defeat was New Zealand's worst ever, eclipsing their 174-run loss to India 10 years ago, in a worrying sign before they head to Australia next week for a triangular series with the world champions and England.

Opener Brendon McCullum (17) was the only player apart from McMillan to make double figures while three players, including Fleming, failed to score at all.

New Zealand's dismal performance followed a dashing display by Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara, who both slammed half-centuries for the tourists.

Jayasuriya rolled back the years with a smashing 70 off just 44 deliveries while Sangakkara rebuilt the innings with a sturdy 79 from 103 deliveries after New Zealand seamer Mark Gillespie snared the first three wickets.


Jayasuriya slammed seven fours and five sixes as Sri Lanka raced to 102 without loss after just 15 overs but was the first man out, caught by Michael Mason, to trigger a minor collapse.

Gillespie captured his second wicket two balls later when he dismissed Sri Lanka captain Mahele Jayawardene for a duck, caught by Fleming, who was making his first appearance in the series resting for the first three games.

Gillespie bowled Jayasuriya's opening partner Upul Tharanga for 22 to leave the tourists on 103-3 and needing to start all over again.

Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu steadied the innings with a 91-run partnership for the fourth wicket before hitting out in the final 10 overs.

Atapattu fell to Andre Adams for 34 off 99 balls and Sangakkara, whose knock featured eight fours and a six, mistimed a shot off Shane Bond to give the New Zealand paceman the first of his two wickets.

The fifth and deciding match of the series will be played in Hamilton on Tuesday.

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