Tue, 26 Mar 2019

Wagner returns as New Zealand opt to bowl

ESPNCricInfo
15 Dec 2018, 08:42 GMT+10

3:00 AM ET

Toss New Zealand opt to bowl v Sri Lanka

Fresh off a magnificent series win in UAE - their first win away against Pakistan in 49 years - New Zealand began their home summer with the toss favouring them on a grassy Wellington deck.

Predictably, having loaded the side with the firepower of Neil Wagner, alongside Trent Boult and Tim Southee, they elected to bowl first. Team dynamics demanded they pick just one spinner, Ajaz Patel, the left-arm tweaker, being preferred over William Sommerville, one of their architects of their win in the third Test in Abu Dhabi.

"Not too bad with the jet lag, it almost feels like a continuation of that series in another side of the world," Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain said. "There's good depth in the squad and guys are knocking on the door. Whoever gets the nod has to just ensure the intensity is up always."

Sri Lanka will be looking to take away the high notes from their lone warm-up fixture last week, where they followed a disappointing 210 for 9 in the first innings with 321 for 5 declared. That said, adjusting to the pace and bounce in Test situations will be a far different proposition to playing a warm-up against a weakened attack.

They went in with a three-one combination, with Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal and Dilruwan Perera making up their bowling attack. They could call upon the services of Angelo Mathews from time-to-time, if absolutely necessary, although his primary role in the set-up will be that of a middle-order batsman.

In many ways, Sri Lanka will want this to be a reboot of sorts having been whitewashed 3-0 at home not too long ago by England.

New Zealand: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

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