Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera's whirlwind 140 off 74 balls might have come in a losing cause but on his way to 140, he broke a record that stood for 22 years.
Perera, who hit his first ODI century on Saturday against New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, slammed 13 sixes in his 74-ball innings -- the most by any Lankan batsman in ODIs.
The previous record was held by Sanath Jayasuriya, who had slammed 11 sixes in an ODI on his way to a 65-ball 134 against Pakistan in 1996.
However, Perera's heroics couldn't take his team over the line in the second ODI as New Zealand (319/7) beat Sri Lanka (298) by 21 runs to take an unassialable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Perera came to the wicket at No. 7 with his team struggling at 121/5 after 25 overs. Undaunted by a seemingly impossible position, he blasted his way to a century from 57 balls, beating his previous best ODI score of 80.
Perera overall hit 110 runs from boundaries — 13 sixes and eight fours in an innings of 14.
New Zealand were still coasting to victory with Sri Lanka at 128/7 in the 27th over after Sri Lanka lost five wickets for 16 runs through the middle of its innings. But Perera expertly marshaled the Sri Lanka tail, farming the strike to continue an assault that the New Zealand bowlers appeared unable to counter.
He put on 75 in an eighth-wicket stand with captain Lasitha Malinga, then added a further 95 for Sri Lanka's last two wickets with tailenders Lakshan Sandakan and Nuwan Pradeep. Perera simply encouraged those batsmen to block out the bowlers until he could get back on strike and take up the contest again.
But, in the end it was too much for him and he was out for 140 to Matt Henry in the 47th over.
Speaking about his man-of-the-match effoet, he said: "I am very proud of myself as this is my first century. I have been batting at number 8 and 9 for the last 8 years. But thanks to the coaching staff who gave me a chance at number 7.
"Frankly, I was not thinking anything. I had to take the responsibilty throughout the innings. I asked the tail to please play out a few balls. I am working hard on my batting. I was trying for a victory rather than avenging the five sixes."