New Zealand secured a one-day international series win against Sri Lanka thanks to a 36-run victory in game five on Tuesday.

The Sri Lankans threw everything into a thrilling chase after New Zealand set 295 for victory, but fell just short as the Kiwis clinched the five-match series 3-1 inside the final three overs at Mount Maunganui.

Black Caps paceman Matt Henry (5-40) tore through the tailenders, while Martin Guptill set up the hosts with a century.

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Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to field and the first-over loss of opener Tom Latham to Nuwan Pradeep (1-69) for a duck might have set an ominous tone to the day for the series-chasing Kiwis, but Guptill proved the hero once again.

Guptill (102) produced another terrific ton, forming a 122-run partnership with Kane Williamson (61) and then Ross Taylor (61) before his wicket fell as the first of three wickets for Nuwan Kulasekara (3-53) after just over 38 overs.

Taylor survived after Guptill for another 23 overs, despite the loss of Henry Nicholls for just two runs barely 12 balls later, and was the last wicket to fall for the home side as Luke Ronchi (37 not out) and Mitchell Santner (21 not out) saw out the remaining overs for a final score of 294-5.

In reply, the Sri Lankans almost managed to bat out their 50 overs and paid the price of a slow start as the required run rate per-over quickly shot to over eight runs thanks to some tight bowling and industrious fielding.

Man of the match Henry and Trent Boult (3-43) were the chief destroyers for the Kiwis, despite the best efforts of Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews (95).

Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan was dismissed for just five runs in the third over and first-drop Lahiru Thirimanne was gone just five balls later for two.

When opener Danushka Gunathilaka fell before the completion of the 10th over for just 15, becoming Henry's second scalp of the day, it looked like things could get ugly for Sri Lanka.

However, a steadying effort from Chandimal (50) and Matthews, who put on a 93-run partnership, delivered some much-needed respectability to the score line.

That came at the cost of a slow run-rate and once Chandimal was dismissed his replacement barely lasted five overs, as Thisara Perera (15) top-edged a short ball from Adam Milne (1-54) providing an easy catch for Taylor.

Matthews hung around as he took the game to the Kiwis, putting on a 52-run partnership with Milinda Siriwardana (39), before Chamara Kapugedera (10) and the former fell in the next five overs, leaving Sri Lanka needing 42 runs from less than five overs with two wickets in the shed.

Chameera (0) and Kulasekara (15), though, could not get the job done.