About the Match
The Kiwis are in Sri Lanka for a 3-match ODI series against the home team Sri Lanka starting from 10 Nov. The two teams met in 2012 for an ODI contest which the Sri Lankans won 3-0. The composition of the teams have changed since then, with the New Zealand team having very less experienced players whereas the Sri Lankans have a good mix of experienced and young players. The ODI scenario has changed over the last 2-3 years with the T20 format producing exciting results and spectators preferring the shorter version of the game. Even a target of 350 has become difficult to defend in ODI, with the team batting second, surpassing the target with ease.
Mathews has taken over the reins of the team, having a good track record as an all-rounder and leading from the front. Stalwarts like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga are role models for the few young players to emulate; Thissara Perera has demonstrated his outstanding capabilities with the bat and ball, in recent tournaments and is in good form. Sri Lankans have very good fast bowlers spearheaded by Lasith Malinga and some spinners who have taken over from Muralitharan have been performing very well in the international matches. Unfortunately they have very less options in slow bowling especially with the left hand, which helps in deceiving the opposing batsman. Only Rangana Herath is a slow left arm bowler and Ajantha Mendis with his off breaks, has been a very resourceful person in the team who can provide the required breaks. Having a good player composition, Sri Lanka is a difficult team to beat on home turf.
They have just completed an away series against Bangladesh and are now in Sri Lanka. It is relatively a very new team with only the Captain Kyle Mills having played more than 100 ODIs; though they have a better composition of team with left-right combinations for both batting and bowling. Psychologically, the team is playing against the home side and this series coming at the back of an unsuccessful one in Bangladesh; the team morale is a bit low. There is hardly anyone in the team who has huge scoring figures except for Rob Nicol and they need to learn to identify their weak areas and tackle those loopholes very quickly. The players have to adjust to the local weather conditions and understand the tricky aspects of the grounds in the sub-continent, while adjusting to the new environment. This young side is full of energy and will try to put its best foot forward here.
The pitches in Sri Lanka are well balanced and assist the bowlers of all kinds alike. For visitors, the only requirement is to understand the local conditions and adjust to the needs without loss of time. The Kiwis are yet to sharpen their skills and this will be a good platform for the young players; however the superior Sri Lankans who have the home advantage are looking to dominate here and are expected to come out with an easy win.
Sri Lanka, 1.36 @ William Hill