Taylor, Nicholls centuries seal 3-0 sweep

Sri Lanka won the toss and had made three changes to their side, but despite their best efforts, a familiar sequence of events unfolded in Nelson. New Zealand lost early wickets but recovered emphatically, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls hitting fine hundreds, while Kane Williamson made an effortless half-century. Sri Lanka failed to take wickets through the middle overs again, which allowed New Zealand to float into the final 10 overs with 234 for 3 on the board, before plundering 130 further runs to finish at 364 for 4.
The visitors’ reply then began gallantly, the openers hurtling to a half-century stand, and the 100 coming off just 86 balls, before a clutch of wickets fell, and the innings flatlined as the middle overs began. Niroshan Dickwella had produced the rocket-powered start, and Thisara Perera was on hand to tonk a valiant 80 off 63, but for the majority of their innings, Sri Lanka did not have the measure of the mammoth target. They fell 115 runs short, leaving 8.2 overs unused.
New Zealand swept the series 3-0, perhaps saving their best batting effort for last. Sri Lanka, whose attack continues to ail, no matter which bowlers are playing or how many, are yet to win a match on tour.
Taylor, for who had come into this match with five consecutive fifty-plus scores behind him, cracked 137 off 131 to raise New Zealand from 31 for 2, to a position of outright command in the match. He was involved in two century stands that formed the body of this New Zealand innings. With Williamson, he put on 116 off 130 balls, before Nicholls joined him for a partnership worth 154 off 120.
He had begun with a little fortune, almost run out within minutes of arriving at the crease (he would have been on his way had Thisara hit the stumps), before nearly chopping the ball back onto his stumps in the next over. He was strong square of the wicket as usual, while Williamson prospered down the ground. Taylor’s first few boundaries came on the legside, as Sri Lanka continued to bowl into his pads, but he would later unfurl that punishing cut shot as well. He got to his 20th hundred off the 112th ball he faced, by which time the slog overs had arrived, and Taylor found himself in a position to surge. He took an especial liking to the bowling of Lasith Malinga, hoisting him for four sixes in the arc between long on and midwicket between the 41st and 45th overs. He was eventually out trying to hit Malinga for a fifth six, ending up only pulling him into the hands of deep square leg.
Nicholls, meanwhile, had arrived in the 27th over and had the opportunity to get his bearings and build an innings, Taylor doing a lot of the legwork at the time. Once he was set, though, he became almost as comfortable as the senior partner. Like Taylor, he found plenty of boundaries on the legside, and took an especial liking to Nuwan Pradeep, hitting him for 41 runs off 16 balls. He reached his half century in the 41st over, and was unstoppable after Taylor’s dismissal, looting 47 off the 18 balls he faced in the last five overs. He thumped Malinga over deep square leg for six to bring up his hundred, and finished on an outstanding 124 not out off 80 balls – his maiden trip to triple figures in ODIs.