ODI series preview: Sri Lanka v New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand and Sri Lanka will contest three ODIs over the next week, with the hosts looking to build on their victory over South Africa in July, and the visitors eager to restore some pride.

New Zealand and Sri Lanka will contest three ODIs over the next week, with the hosts looking to build on their victory over South Africa in July, and the visitors eager to restore some pride.

The number eight-ranked Kiwis lost their most recent series against Bangladesh in rather emphatic fashion, and will go into this series an even more depleted side, missing a number of key players.

Batsmen and senior players Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum have been sent home to rest ahead of the Tests against the West Indies next month, while Kane Williamson, who was mean to be skipper for this series, was ruled out with a broken finger.

Fast bowler Kyle Mills will thus lead the inexperienced side against the fourth-ranked ODI side. Mills is by far one of the more experienced players, and will need rookies like Anton Devcich and Corey Anderson to prove their worth.

As for the hosts, they have not been playing much cricket this year, but still remain joint-third, behind India, Australia and England, on the ODI list. They came up trumps against the Proteas in their most recent series, nearly four months ago.

Angelo Mathews has moved into his captaincy role nicely, and will have a number of veterans, from Lasith Malinga, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara to call on. No present though is Shaminda Eranga, who was not selected.

The major concern for organisers is that the monsoon season is still in full force, and will affect the first two matches in Hambantota rather heavily. Full matches there are unlikely, according to the forecasts.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, their long-standing key player is always <b>Kumar Sangakkara</b>. In the series against the Proteas he averaged 93, and made two fifties and a ton in five games. He is imperious at home, and will likely star again.

The Black Caps batsmen were dire against the Tigers, with no-one other than Taylor reaching triple figures overall, but bowling-wise they were better. <b>Jimmy Neesham</b> took eight wickets in two games, and will need to keep that form going.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013 Champions Trophy: New Zealand won by one wicket in Cardiff<br>2012 Fifth ODI, No result in Hambantota<br>2012 Fourth ODI: Sri Lanka won by seven wickets in Hambantota<br>2012 Third ODI:Sri Lanka won by seven wickets in Pallekele<br>2012 Second ODI: Sri Lanka won by 14 runs in Pallekele

<b>Prediction</b><br>We reckon the Black Caps are going to win the first game in a bid to restore some pride, and adrenalin will carry them over the line, but the next two games will see the hosts find their feet again and seal the series.

<b>Squads</b><br><i>Sri Lanka:</i> Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Ashan Priyanjan

<i>New Zealand:</i> Kyle Mills (capt), Corey Anderson, Anton Devcich, Grant Elliott, Andrew Ellis, Tom Latham (wk), Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Rob Nicol, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First ODI: 10 November, Hambantota<br>Second ODI: 12 November, Hambantota<br>Third ODI: 16 November, Dambullah

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