Preview: Sri Lanka, New Zealand in battle of mid-level sides

Preview: Sri Lanka, New Zealand in battle of mid-level sides

most runs in tests 2014
Sri Lankan batting will once again revolve around Kumara Sangakkara, as Mahela Jayawardene has preferred to hang up his boots from the format.(Photo: Sky Sports)

Preview: Sri Lanka, New Zealand in battle of mid-level sides: A total of three test matches are set to begin on Boxing Day this year, with New Zealand taking on Sri Lanka at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch in one of them. Both the teams are going into the series on the back of some stellar performances. New Zealand have drawn the recent test and T20I series against Pakistan before winning the One Day Series 3-2. Sri Lanka on the other hand had a devastating tour of India, where they lost 0-5 before coming back to regain the confidence by beating England in the One Day Series that followed.

The format is different, and Sri Lanka would find it difficult to adjust to the conditions for a day or two as they have not played a Test Match since August, because of their build up to the Cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand during February-March 2015. Let us have a look at the two teams probable XI and their form in the build up to the test.

New Zealand: The Kiwis are carrying decent form going into the seam-friendly conditions of Christchurch. Brendon McCullum is fresh from his double hundred against Pakistan and after a productive year, he is expected to finish his year on a high. The New Zealand batting will rotate around the experienced trio of Brendon McCullum-Ross Taylor-Kane Williamson and they will be counting on the runs from these three to win the test. Corey Anderson has been ruled out of the first test and the New Zealand line up is set to be tweaked a bit from the last time they played a test.

Playing XI: Tom Latham, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (c), James Neesham, Bradley John Watling (wk), Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Mark Craig

Results (Most Recent First): W D L W L

Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan batting will once again revolve around Kumara Sangakkara, as Mahela Jayawardene has preferred to hang up his boots from the format. Angelo Matthews, Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirimanne are expected to chip in with useful runs if they are to win the match.

Playing XI: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumara Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Matthews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad, Suranga Lakmal

Results (Most Recent First): W W D L W

Team Talk

BJ Watling on the surface of Hagley Oval, Christchurch: A lot of people have been saying it’s been a good wicket, Hagley Oval. I’ve never played on it before, but hopefully there will be a bit of bounce and carry for us, and that can really test the Sri Lankan team. I’d say it’s good for Southee and Boult. Hopefully it’s swinging around as well. I’ve just watched them demolish Wellington last week and that was good fun.

Chaminda Vaas on Sri Lankan pacers: All five seamers on tour have a lot of ability. It’s very rare that we get five guys together who can all bowl 140kph. The conditions in New Zealand are great for quicks, and as a seamer you are overjoyed when you see tracks like what you have here, because you don’t get that in Sri Lanka. The pitches give you swing, and then if you bowl well, you can trap batsmen.