Peter Fulton's maiden one-day century was not enough for New Zealand to complete a clean-sweep of their one-day series against Sri Lanka, with Chaminda Vaas bowling the visitors to a 20-run victory in Napier on Sunday.
Fulton scored 112 in New Zealand's 253 all out in 48.2 overs, chasing Sri Lanka's 273 for six, while there were also handy contributions from Nathan Astle (43) and Hamish Marshall (35).
Vaas, however, proved the match winner for Sri Lanka when he took three of his four wickets at the death, claiming Daniel Vettori (3), Chris Cairns (28) and James Franklin (two) in the 46th and 48th overs.
Vaas ended with four for 48 off nine overs after Marvan Atapattu (69) and Kumar Sangakkara (58) had provided the main scoring for Sri Lanka.
It was only Sri Lanka's second victory in 11 one-day matches.
New Zealand lost the early wickets of Stephen Fleming and Lou Vincent before Fulton, who has scores of 70 not out and 50 this series, kept the score ticking over in combining with Astle in an 108-run partnership and 78 runs with Marshall.
Astle mistimed an attempted lofted shot to be caught by Dilhara Fernando at mid-on off Malinga Bandera while Marshall also misread the timing of the pitch and got a leading edge to a delivery from Ruchira Perera who took the return catch.
Fulton was then run out in the 43rd over and with it New Zealand's impetus fell away.
Wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum followed shortly after when he misread a delivery from Perera and was well caught by Atapattu in the covers.
Cairns looked like he could steal the game for New Zealand with some lusty blows but when he was trapped in front by Vaas in the 48th over, the game was virtually lost for the home side.
The five-game series had originally been due to be played a year ago but was postponed after just one match, won by New Zealand, when parts of Asia, including Sri Lanka, were hit by a tsunami.
New Zealand won the series 4-1 after they won matches in Queenstown on Dec. 31, Christchurch on Jan. 3 and Wellington on Friday.
Sri Lanka now travel to Australia for a triangular one-day series with Australia and South Africa, while New Zealand host the West Indies next month.
U. Tharanga c Fulton b Martin 11
J. Mubarak c Martin b Bond 26
K. Sangakkara c Fulton b Astle 58
T. Dilshan c McCullum b Martin 43
M. Atapattu b Bond 69
M. Jayawardene c Astle b Martin 30
R. Arnold not out 15
C. Vaas not out 1
Extras: (lb-2 nb-13 w-5) 20
Total: (for 6 wickets, 50 overs) 273
Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-49, 3-129, 4-178, 5-233, 6-272
Did not bat: R. Perera, D. Fernando, M. Muralitharan
Bowling: J. Franklin 10 - 0 - 56 - 0 (nb-6), S. Bond 10 - 1 - 53 - 2 (nb-1 w-3), C. Martin 10 - 0 - 62 - 3 (nb-1 w-1), D. Vettori 10 - 0 - 44 - 0, C. Cairns 7 - 0 - 44 - 0 (nb-1 w-1), N. Astle 3 - 0 - 12 - 1.
L. Vincent c Muralitharan b Perera 5
S. Fleming lbw b Vaas 0
N. Astle c Fernando b Bandara 47
P. Fulton run out 112
H. Marshall c&b Perera 35
C. Cairns lbw b Vaas 28
B. McCullum c Atapattu b Perera 2
D. Vettori b Vaas 3
J. Franklin b Vaas 2
S. Bond not out 2
C. Martin b Fernando 0
Extras: (lb-10 nb-4 w-3) 17
Total: (all out, 48.2 overs) 253
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-13, 3-121, 4-199, 5-224, 6-231, 7-236, 8-249, 9-252, 10-253.
Bowling: C. Vaas 9 - 0 - 48 - 4 (nb-2), R. Perera 10 - 0 - 56 - 3 (nb-1 w-2), D. Fernando 5.2 - 0 - 36 - 1 (nb-1), M. Muralitharan 10 - 1 - 36 - 0, T. Dilshan 4 - 0 - 20 - 0, M. Bandara 10 - 0 - 47 - 1 (w-1).