ODI series Preview: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
New Zealand and Sri Lanka begin a five-match ODI series that will be the start of a final tour around the country for Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum, who will retire in February.
The 34 year-old McCullum announced recently that the home Test series against Australia will be his last for the Kiwis, giving fans an opportunity to say goodbye, starting with the first ODI against the Asian team on Boxing Day in Christchurch.
The Black Caps will start the 50-over series as favourites after delivering a clean-sweep in the completed two-match Test series.
The home side will not have their usual pace attack for the start of the series as the selectors have decided to rest Trent Boult and Tim Southee after the duo endured heavy workloads in what has been a gruelling year.
Sri Lanka have also lost their pace bowling spearhead after Lasith Malinga was ruled out of the entire tour after not recovering sufficiently from a knee injury.
All eyes will be on McCullum as he winds down an amazing caree in the colours of his country. He will still be key at the top of the Black Caps order, giving them fast starts.
Without Malinga it is hard to see the Sri Lanka bowlers troubling the hosts' batting line-up. Captain Angelo Mathews will have to once again perform duel roles to keep his team in the contest.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
World Cup: New Zealand won by 98 runs in Christchurch
Seventh ODI: Sri Lanka won by 34 runs in Wellington
Sixth ODI: New Zealand won by 120 runs in Dunedin
Fifth ODI: New Zealand won by 108 runs in Dunedin
Fourth ODI: New Zealand won by four wickets in Nelson
First ODI: 26 December in Christchurc
Second ODI: 28 December in Christchurch
Third ODI: 31 December in Nelson
Fourth ODI: 2 January in Nelson
Fifth ODI: 5 January in Maunganui
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (c), Doug Bracewell, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry (first two ODIs), Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, George Worker. Tim Southee will join the squad for the third ODI.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Milinda Siriwardana, Danushka Gunathilaka, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Dhammika Prasad, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Chamara Kapugedera, Jeffrey Vandersay
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