Nicholls, Taylor

Veteran Ross Taylor and rising star Henry Nicholls both smashed centuries as New Zealand set Sri Lanka an imposing 365-run target in the third one-day international in Nelson Tuesday.

Taylor top-scored with 137, and Nicholls was unbeaten on 124 off just 80 balls, lifting the hosts to 364 for four after being sent in to bat — a record ODI score at Nelson’s Saxton Oval.

The average ODI score at the venue is just 275, meaning Sri Lanka face a tough challenge to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash when they bat.

It was Nicholls’ maiden ODI ton and Taylor’s 20th, tightening the 34-year-old’s grip on the New Zealand record for one-day centuries that he already holds.

“I’m getting old and hopefully I’ve got a few more left in me,” he told Sky Sports after his knock.

He came to the crease with New Zealand struggling at 31 for two but combined with skipper Kane Williamson for a 116-run partnership to steady the innings.

When Williamson departed on 55, Taylor and Nicholls came together for an aggressive 154-run stand that punished an uninspiring Sri Lanka attack.

Early in the innings, Sri Lanka’s decision to bowl first paid dividends as captain Lasith Malinga ousted openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro cheaply.

But wayward bowling, particularly at the death, cost Sri Lanka dearly, as they conceded 57 runs in theĀ final three overs.

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