Vaas' four-star performance seals late show for Sri Lankans

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Sri Lanka ended their losing run and salvaged some pride with a 20-run victory in yesterday's final one-day international against New Zealand in Napier.

The Sri Lankans, who lost the first four matches of the five-game series, once again owed a huge debt to the paceman Chaminda Vaas, whose figures of 4 for 48 off nine overs was instrumental in his country's triumph which came despite a maiden one-day century for the batsman Peter Fulton in New Zealand's 253 all out.

Vaas made the breakthrough with the score on three when he removed Stephen Fleming for a duck, earning an lbw verdict from the umpire Darrell Hair. His fellow opener Lou Vincent was next to depart for five when he steered a Ruchira Perera delivery into the hands of Jehan Mubarak.

Fulton joined Nathan Astle at the crease and the pair put on 108 for the third wicket before Astle became the third man out, for 47, as he gave Dilhara Fernando a catch off the bowling of Malinga Bandara. Hamish Marshall was next to depart after making 35 when he got a leading edge to give Perera a catch off his own bowling.

Fulton had made 112 - his previous best had been 73 - before he became the fifth man to depart when he was run out by a throw from Tillakaratne Dilshan to the wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara. Brendon McCullum was next to go for two when he steered Perera to Marvan Atapattu while Daniel Vettori was bowled by Vaas for three.

New Zealand were still in with a chance but the last three wickets fell for 17 runs. Chris Cairns was trapped lbw on the back pad by Vaas, who then accounted for James Franklin the same way. Franklin's departure for two left only Shane Bond and Chris Martin, and then Fernando ended the contest by bowling Martin.

Atapattu had earlier played a captain's innings for Sri Lanka. Atapattu, who won the toss and elected to bat, was out in the final over after smashing 69 off only 68 balls as Sri Lanka scored 273 for 6 in their 50 overs at McLean Park.

Sangakkara also hit a half-century as the tourists built the base for a first win in the series which New Zealand have dominated.

Upul Tharanga and Mubarak put on 44 for the first wicket in less than seven overs to give Sri Lanka the start they needed. Dilshan weighed in with 43 and Mahela Jayawardene hit 30 as Sri Lanka set the hosts a target of five and a half runs an over for victory.

Martin was the Black Caps most successful bowler with 3 for 62 off his 10 overs.

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