Having sealed a convincing series win in the Test series, hosts New Zealand will look to assert their dominance in the ODIs in the opener of the five-match series in Christchurch. New Zealand have won 22 off the 35 games they have hosted against Sri Lanka, and the home side will be confident of maintaining their good form.
When the two sides faced off in the seven-match ODI series ahead of the World Cup, New Zealand romped home to a 4-2 series win.
While the New Zealand team wears a very similar look to the one that played earlier this year, Sri Lanka have undergone many changes with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene’s retirements.
The News about Brendon McCullum retiring soon would have hit the New Zealanders hard, and they will want to ensure that they give their captain as many wins as possible before he ends his career against Australia.
Henry Nicholls, according to batting coach, Craig McMillan, is ready for his debut, but it would be surprising if they select the left-hander for the opener.
The Sri Lankan side is still a young side with many players playing in NZ for the first time, and the likes of Angelo Mathews and Tillkaratne Dilshan will have to lead by example if the side are to trouble the World Cup runners-up.
Lasith Malinga’s injury will come as a major blow for the visitors, and they will hope the young Dushmantha Chameera steps up in the absence of his senior partner. Thisara Perera’s inclusion adds much needed steel to the line-up in both the batting and bowling departments.
New Zealand have hosted Sri Lanka 35 times in ODIs and have won 22 and lost 11 times.
Brendon McCullum needs 91 more to complete 6000 ODI runs. He has played 254 ODIs.
Angelo Mathews if 45 runs short of completing 4000 ODI runs.
It’s always been a belter here. The batters should have a smile on their face.
“There’s something there for the bowlers if they put in as well but it looks like a surface that’ll produce a couple of big scores,” said Craig McMillan.