|Scorecard:||Sri Lanka v New Zealand|
|Event:||New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2012/13|
DateLine: 1st November 2012
Sri Lanka v New Zealand
First ODI 2012/13
Sri Lanka would take on New Zealand in the 1st ODI match of the New Zealand tour of Sri Lanka 2012 at Kandy on 1st November, 2012. Schedule time for ODI match is 14:30 Local Time (09:00 GMT).
It has taken just one match to confirm that Sri Lanka and New Zealand will be battling something that is beyond their control. Persistent rain saved New Zealand from an embarrassing defeat after their batsmen amassed a small total of 74/7 in 14 overs and the second innings was washed out after 2 overs. The match ended with no result.
An ODI series shortly after the World Twenty20, less than the week since the Champions League and mere days before the start of two high-profile Test affairs is largely at a hiding to nothing in terms of interest levels.
The pittance of a crowd present for the rain-affected one-off T20I on Tuesday bore testament to the indifference for this five-match string - and arguably ODI cricket in general. Thankfully, then, the ICC's latest crop of rule changes will demand some attention.
The New Zealanders, meanwhile, fully aware of the gaps in their bowling ranks, have hired Shane Bond and Chaminda Vaas to help iron out the shortfalls. There's no such thing as too much help in this era of professionalism, and if they can't get it right - on a consistent basis - under the tutelage of the former paces aces, one wonders if the Black Caps attack ever will.
The New Zealand batting order at present is fragile. During the T20I in Pallekele where conditions provided a lot of help to the Lankan bowlers, the Kiwi top order fared worse than novices. Only three batsmen managed double digits in the rain-curtailed match. Their ODI record does not make for good reading either. If the series wins against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are taken out of the equation, then New Zealand last won an ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE in 2009. In the last one year, they have won only one out of their last eight ODIs and this will be a cause of concern.
The only players who have performed well for New Zealand have been Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson. The problem is that no one else has contributed consistently when the team needed it the most. A middle order that is lacking in form is being jolted further by the lack of depth in New Zealand's bowling. Barring Tim Southee and Kyle Mills, the rest of the bowlers have struggled for penetration. In spinning conditions, one wonders about the impact that Ronnie Hira and possibly Nathan McCullum might have. The bottom-line is that in the sub-continent, the Kiwis have a huge mountain to climb.
Pushed to the top of the knock in Martin Guptill's absence and perhaps given the wicketkeeping duties ahead of Brendon McCullum, Tom Latham won't want to waste his opportunity to cement a berth in the starting XI for future series.
The return of Mahela Jayawardene and Lasith Malinga will boost the Sri Lankan line-up. The Sri Lankan batting line-up looks stronger on paper than the Kiwis. Tillekeratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara form the core of the batting unit. The remaining places in the batting could well be the same as the squad that played in the T20 World Cup. Looking at the performance of Akila Dananjaya in the T20I, he looks all set to make his ODI debut and partner Rangana Herath as the second spinner.
The most interesting aspect is that this will be the first bilateral ODI series played in Sri Lanka between these two teams after a gap of 20 years. Thanks to the familiarity with the conditions, the Sri Lankan team are favourites in this contest. All this will be applicable if the rain stays away.
For the hosts, it's another chance to strut their latest talent, namely 19-year-old spinners Tharindu Kaushal and Akila Dananjaya in the absence of Ajantha Mendis. Mendis' injury and the need to nurture Kaushal and Dananjaya will give Rangana Herath additional responsibility, which the veteran can't afford to leave unheeded.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga, Upul Tharanga, Rangana Herath, Akila Dananjaya, Tharindu Kaushal.
New Zealand: Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, BJ Watling, James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Tom Latham, Nathan McCullum, Andrew Ellis, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Pakistan Cricket Website)