Daijiworld Media Network
Pallekele, Nov 4 : A warm welcome to one and all for the 2nd ODI between Sri Lanka and New Zealand from Pallekele. The original venue was supposed to be the R Premadasa stadium in Colombo, but heavy rain for the last three weeks in the city forced the Sri Lankan authorities to change the venue back to Pallekele. The good news is that it is clear at Pallekele and today, we will have a game.
The early team news we are getting is that both Oram and Brendon McCullum are unfit and they will not play in this match.
New Zealand have won the toss and elected to bat
Mahela Jayawardene says that he could have bowled first. It might help the spinners. He states that the bowlers have been disciplined for the last 6-12 months and they have the capability to adjust. Malinga and Herath come back and so Dananjaya, Munaweera and Eranga miss out.
Ross Taylor says that the pitch is good for batting. It is a totally different wicket. The weather cannot be controlled. Brendon McCullum has a sore back and Oram is also out.
Pitch Report: There has been no rain for the last two days. The pitch is lighter in clour. There is no moisture on the pitch but there are a lot of small cracks. They might open up as the game progresses. The pitch is hard and there are some patches of grass.
New Zealand (Playing XI): Rob Nicol, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor(c), Kane Williamson, James Franklin, BJ Watling(w), Nathan McCullum, Andrew Ellis, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Trent Boult
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara(w), Mahela Jayawardene(c), Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga
Match Preview :
The second ODI between Sri Lanka and New Zealand is scheduled at Pallekele, the venue for the lone T20I and the first ODI, both of which were washed out. With rain looming over the city once again, chances of play for the second ODI look bleak as well.
The most interesting aspect is that this will be the first bilateral ODI series played in Sri Lanka between these two teams after a gap of 20 years. Thanks to the familiarity with the conditions, the Sri Lankan team are favorites in this contest. All this will be applicable if the rain stays away. Mahela Jayawardene and Lasith Malinga will return to the Lankan side which is sure to give them a boost. Looking at the sides on paper, the hosts look far stronger and settled. Tillekeratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara form the core of the batting unit. The remaining places in the batting could well be the same as the squad that played in the T20 World Cup. Looking at the performance of Akila Dananjaya in the T20I, he looks all set to make his ODI debut and partner Rangana Herath as the second spinner.
Their batting might pack a punch in the T20Is, but as far as ODIs are concerned, New Zealand's batting order can best be described as fragile. During the T20I in Pallekele where conditions provided a lot of help to the Lankan bowlers, the Kiwi top order fared worse than novices. Only three batsmen managed double digits in the rain-curtailed match. As mentioned previously, their ODI record does not make for great reading as well and they even have the dubious distinction of losing to Bangladesh at home. In the last one year, they have won only one out of their last eight ODIs and this will be a cause of concern.
The only players who have performed well for New Zealand have been Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson. The problem is that no one else has contributed consistently when the team needed it the most. A middle order that is lacking in form is being jolted further by the lack of depth in New Zealand's bowling. Barring Tim Southee and Kyle Mills, the rest of the bowlers have struggled for penetration. In spinning conditions, one wonders about the impact that Ronnie Hira and possibly Nathan McCullum might have. The bottom-line is that in the sub-continent, the Kiwis have a huge mountain to climb.
Sri Lanka and New Zealand have played 74 ODIs against each other and both are evenly matched. New Zealand have won 35 matches and Sri Lanka have won 34 with one match being tied and the remaining four being a no-result.
Mahela Jayawardene needs 75 runs to go past 1000 runs in ODIs against New Zealand. Kumar Sangakkara needs 83 runs to achieve the same landmark.