New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Napier

New Zealand bat first in Napier

The Report by Charlie Austin

April 4, 2005

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Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Vaas has fond memories of Napier © Getty Images

New Zealand, keen to return to winning ways after their 2-0 defeat by Australia, won the toss and batted first at Napier against a Sri Lanka team short of match practice. Fortunately, despite the late scheduling after the Asian tsunami disaster forced the postponement of the January series, the weather was set fair.

Kyle Mills was called up for the injury-ravaged Black Caps for the first time at home after Daniel Vettori pulled out with a sore back. New Zealand are also missing Scott Styris (knee), Jacob Oram (back), Ian Butler (back), Darryl Tuffey (bicep) and Michael Papps (finger).

Sri Lanka, without Muttiah Muralitharan who is recovering from shoulder surgery, last played Test cricket five months ago in Pakistan, a series that was drawn 1-1 after defeat in Karachi. Since their only first-class cricket since then as been a short Provincial Tournament.

They resisted the temptation of packing their side with seven batsmen, preferring to go into the Test with a full hand of bowlers, including Upul Chandana as a leg-spinning allrounder at no 7. Nuwan Kulasekera made his Test debut after being preferred to Farveez Maharoof and Ruchira Perera as the third seamer.

Sri Lanka have fond memories of McLean Park in Napier having won their first-ever Test outside the subcontinent at the same venue back in 1995, winning by 214 runs as Vaas launched his career with a ten-wicket haul.

New Zealand team: 1 James Marshall, 2 Craig Cumming, 3 Stephen Fleming (capt), 4 Nathan Astle, 5 Hamish Marshall, 6 Lou Vincent, 7 Brendon McCullum, 8 Kyle Mills, 9 Paul Wiseman, 10 James Franklin, 11 Chris Martin

Sri Lanka team: 1 Marvan Atapattu, 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 7 Upul Chandana, 8 Chaminda Vaas, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Nuwan Kulasekera, 11 Lasith

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Charlie Austin Sri Lanka editor When Charlie Austin left for Sri Lanka after graduating from Sussex University, he was a planning a winter's cricket in the tropics and a six-month stint with an environmental NGO. His mother's worst fears were soon realised when it became clear that he had fallen in love with the island. Six months have now become eight years and Colombo has become his home. He joined Cricinfo in February 2000 and now heads operations in Sri Lanka, responsible for both sales and editorial. He is also the director of a UK-based travel company called Red Dot Tours, and is currently ghosting Muttiah Muralitharan's autobiography.
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