Sri Lanka hold the upper hand having restricted New Zealand to a total of just 81 as they look to tie their two game series against the Kiwis.
Nathan McCullum top scored for the Kiwis with an impressive innings of 36 after they had been reduced to just 8-4 after just 2.3 overs.
Having won the toss New Zealand got off to a disastrous start losing 5 wickets inside the first 5 overs as Kulasekara tore through the Kiwis top order.
Kulasekara struck three times in the second over to leave the Kiwis on the back foot thanks to an explosive start from the 27 year old fast bowler.
Aaron Redmond was the first player to be dismissed after he was trapped LBW from th first ball of the second over. Brendon McCullum quickly followed 4 balls later after Kulasekara knocked his middle stump out of the ground before Rob Nicol was dismissed for a golden duck from the next ball.
Ross Taylor (5) and Gareth Hopkins (1) soon followed as the New Zealand middle order were unable to halt the collapse which saw the Kiwis collapse to 13-5 inside the first 5 overs.
With the power overs completed New Zealand found themselves in the ridiculous position of being 17-5 before Vettori and Nathan McCullum built a vital 6th wicket partnership of 41 to rescue the Kiwis.
With the recovery under way Vettori was unluckily given out caught behind despite TV replays showing he never made contact with the ball.
The wicket of Vettori swung the game back in the favour of Sri Lanka who increased the pressure to remove Jacob Oram (3) and Kyle Mills (0) to leave the Kiwis 68-8 with 5 overs still remaining.
Although McCullum remained at the crease he was offered no support as Tim Southee (4) and Andy McKay (0) were both dismissed cheaply to leave the Kiwis 81 all out.