Test Preview: New Zealand v Sri Lanka
New Zealand are firm favourites to win the second and final Test against Sri Lanka at Seddon Park in Hamilton and wrap up a two-nil series clean sweep.
The Black Caps beat the tourists convincingly, by 122 run, in the first Test at in Dunedin and have the more settled, and experienced, starting unit.
The inexperience of the Asian side's batting order was shown up at the University Oval with only wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal and, to a lesser extent, Dimuth Karunaratne making any significant contributions.
Sri Lanka could relieve Chandimal of the wicketkeeping gloves and bring in Kaushal Silva, who has previously opened the batting, at number seven to shore up the order.
The away side's bowling attack also never covered themselves in glory after they won the toss and bowled first in the first Test, allowing the Kiwis to go at almost five runs to the over on the opening day.
For New Zealand, expect there to be minimal changes if any at all with the only question whether to play a specialist spinner or keep going with a four-man pace bowling attack.
Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner did well in Dunedin and it would be harsh to drop either one of them in favour a slow bowler like Mark Craig.
The Black Caps are likely to stick to their team which means number six batsman Mitchell Santner will provide the slow-bowling option with his left-arm spin.
Batsman Kane Williamson has moved up another step in the world player rankings, to number two, and is close to being the best player in the longest format of the game.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews needs to contribute more if the Asian side want to have a say in the Test. He is the most experienced batsman and offers a lot as the fourth seamer in the side.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2015 First Test: New Zealand won by 122 runs in Dunedin
2015 Second Test: New Zealand won by 193 runs in Wellington
2014/15 First Test: New Zealand won by eight wickets in Christchurch
2012 Second Test: New Zealand won by 167 runs in Colombo
2012 First Test: Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets in Galle
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Kusal Mendis, Udara Jayasundera, Dinesh Chandimal, Kaushal Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Dimuth Karunaratne, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Vishwa Fernando
Dates: 18 – 22 December
Morning session: 10:30-12:30 (21:30-23:30 GMT -d)
Afternoon session: 13:10-15:10 (00:10-02:10 GMT)
Evening session: 15:30-17:30 (02:30-04:30 GMT)
On-field umpires: Paul Reiffel and Nigel Llong
Third umpire: Richard Kettleborough
Match referee: David Boon
On This Day 2012: Ashley Giles takes over as England limited-overs head coach
Team director and Test boss Andy Flower was keen to reduce his own workload and Giles seized the opportunity.
Jonny Bairstow happy to put experience to good use after move down England order
Bairstow hit a wonderful 86 not out as England won the first Twenty20 international in South Africa.
Defiant Jonny Bairstow powers England to win over South Africa
The Yorkshire batsman hit 86 not out from 48 balls in a five-wicket win.
England chasing 180 to win Cape Town clash as Faf Du Plessis makes half-century
Sam and Tom Curran experienced mixed fortunes in the first innings of the opening Twenty20 against South Africa.
Leicestershire boss: Foxes won’t stand for being county cricket “also rans”
Chief executive Sean Jarvis has big plans for the county.
England unsure of best T20 side as foreign fixtures resume
Selectors have a full strength squad to choose from in England’s first away match since the start of the pandemic.
South Africa on high alert after Ben Stokes’ IPL form
The South Africa captain saw Stokes smash a sensational hundred last month.
Tom Curran happy for cricket to carry on innovating in quest for entertainment
Curran is heading back to the Big Bash in the new year with Sydney Sixers, with three new rules to get used to in the Twenty20 tournament.