New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Preview: Visitors eye spirited effort to avoid yet another whitewash

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Preview: Visitors eye spirited effort to avoid yet another whitewash

Sri Lanka have won the last three dead-rubbers out of which two have been comprehensive victories.

Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka and series whitewashes have been the story over the last couple of years. Apart from an individual brilliance here and there, the Islanders have been largely struggling even to compete. Thisara Perera had almost pulled off a sensational victory in the last game for them but for one player to score all the runs is really impossible in cricket and for a reason, it is known as the team game.

Sri Lanka have been putting up a fight without any results going in their favour and they would love to change things around now. Also, the team has been doing exceptionally well in the dead-rubbers and one just feels why they can’t pull of such victories early in the series. They defeated South Africa in the last two ODIs of the series by 3 runs and 178 runs respectively while thumping England by a massive 219 runs in the fifth game of the series.

Unfortunately, they had lost the series before unfurling such performances on the field. Lasith Malinga, for now, will hope that his troops come up with such kind of brilliance at the Saxton Oval in Nelson.

New Zealand, on the other hand, were clinical as ever in both the matches. Though they will have to improve their fielding as the butterfingers of the fielders led to a plethora of catches being dropped which almost snatched the game away from them. The team’s batting has been superb in all conditions but the worrying aspect is their bowling. They are struggling to contain the runs in the death overs and will have to work on the same come the World Cup.

Team Combinations

New Zealand

Martin Guptill and Colin Munro will open the batting as usual and both are expected to fire together in this game. Kane Williamson is also due for a big knock after a quiet outing in the previous game while the in-form Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls will follow next. James Neesham is in great form with both bat and ball while the Kiwis will look to rest Trent Boult as they’ve already sealed the series. Doug Bracewell looks certain to get an opportunity in this game keeping India series in mind.

Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tim Seifert (wk), James Neesham, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s batting has been inconsistent though Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka have done well at the top. Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis need to be consistent enough at three and four in the line-up. Dinesh Chandimal’s form is a major worry and he might have to make way for Dhananjaya de Silva after two mediocre outings. Asela Gunaratne hasn’t looked his usual self on comeback so far but will get more chances it seems ahead of the World Cup.

Thisara Perera is in the form of his life while the skipper Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep will look after the pace bowling department. Seekkugge Prasanna and Lakshan Sandakan are the two spinners.

Probable XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal/Dhananjaya de Silva, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera, Seekkugge Prasanna, Lasith Malinga (c), Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep.

Focus will be on

Tim Southee (New Zealand)

Tim Southee’s place in New Zealand’s ODI team is in danger. With the likes of Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry constantly performing he will be under some pressure now. Moreover, Southee’s last match figures of 1/68 in eight overs has made his case worse. The fact that he was not a starter in the series opener proves that the management is looking at other options than Southee. A five-wicket haul and improved death-overs bowling in the near future is a must for him to make it into the playing XI for the World Cup.

Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)

He is seriously in the form of his life. If Thisara Perera had managed to win the last game for Sri Lanka, it would’ve ranked among one of the greatest ODI knocks in the history. But he needs to improve his bowling in order to become the best all-rounder in the world. Perera should master death-overs bowling which has been his weakness and the same has been exposed in the last two ODIs.

Head to Head

Matches – 97 | New Zealand won – 47 | Sri Lanka won – 41 | Tied – 1 | NR – 8

Stat Attack

3 – Sri Lanka have been whitewashed three times in the ODIs since the start of 2017.

557 & 27 – Thisara Perera has scored 557 runs and scalped 27 wickets in the 19 ODIs since 2018.

Broadcast Details

TV – Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 1 HD

Match Timings: 03:30 IST; 11:00 local

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