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April 4, 2005
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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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Bide your time, put your body behind each delivery, and play with the batsman's mind