Wet weather denied New Zealand a consolation win over Sri Lanka after Monday's fifth ODI was washed out after a mere 28.3 overs.

The defeated recipients of an unassailable three-nil deficit ahead of the final fixture of the series, the Black Caps reduced their opponents to 123 for eight despite a defiant 60 from opener batsman Upul Tharanga.

The rain which negatively affected the World Twenty20 in the same country, the one-off T20I and first ODI returned, though, preventing the tourists from seizing the advantage.

Seamer Tim Southee took three for 18 and gave his side a great start when he bowled Dinesh Chandimal in the second over and also accounted for the dismissal of Lahiru Thirimanne for 17.

All-rounder Angelo Mathews endured a duck and the veteran Kumar Sangakkara made just five before becoming fast bowler Adam Milne's first victim in ODI cricket. Tharanga, later, found support from skipper Mahela Jayawardene.

The pair put on 47 before Jayawardene (24) was run out by fielder Nathan McCullum's superb return throw. All-rounder Jeevan Mendis followed in the same Andrew Ellis over for a duck, but Tharanga pushed through to reach an 88-ball half-century with two boundaries in seamer Ellis' next over.

The hard-hitting Thisara Perera fell for 11 and Tharanga edged Southee to wicketkeeper BJ Watling to end his 94-ball vigil just as the rain started to fall. The inclement weather never relented, and play was eventually called off about three hours and 45 minutes into the delay.

The teams will now play a two-Test series, the first of which gets underway in Galle on Saturday. Colombo will host the second and final fixture.