Sri Lanka's chance to regain home dominance
According to the ICC rankings, Sri Lanka are placed low at No.7 in one-day internationals, while India are second and New Zealand fourth. However, the home team will fancy their chances in their tri-nation Compaq Cup, which starts on Tuesday. They beat Pakistan 3-2 in their last one-day series at home, but India and New Zealand will like their odds too: India have won their last two series in Sri Lanka - in August 2008 and in January 2009 - while New Zealand emerged victorious the last time they played a tri-nation tournament in Sri Lanka, the Bank Alfalah Cup in 2003.
Sri Lanka have usually been formidable at home, but their recent record here isn't as good: before beating Pakistan, they'd lost three successive series, twice against India and once against England.
The inconsistent batting has been the major worry for the home team. In his last 19 innings, Sanath Jayasuriya has averaged 27, with one century and two fifties. Their home form against India and New Zealand isn't great either - both Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan average less than 27.
Most of the Indian batsmen have reasonable experience of playing in Sri Lankan conditions, and they haven't done badly. Sachin Tendulkar leads the run-scorers' list with an aggregate of 1320 at 40. Rahul Dravid, back in the ODI fold, has a solid record in Sri Lanka, as do Yuvraj Singh and the captain MS Dhoni.
Lack of experience could be New Zealand's biggest handicap - none of their specialist batsmen in the current squad have played an ODI in Sri Lanka. Brendon McCullum has played five, but he hasn't yet managed a half-century, averaging 25.50 at a strike rate of 62.19. That, though, is much better than what Daniel Vettori has managed with the bat: in 13 innings, Vettori's aggregate reads a shocking 68, at an average of 7.55 and a highest score of 19. Jacob Oram has played eight innings and averages 15.
Vettori the bowler has been far more successful in Sri Lanka, though, with 21 wickets in 17 games at an excellent economy rate of 3.69. In fact, the last time he played Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka was in the final of the Bank Alfalah Cup, in which he won the Man-of-the-Match award with match-winning figures of 4 for 14 from ten overs. Oram has done well too, with 14 wickets in nine games. Shane Bond, who will play his first ODI for New Zealand since April 2007, has only played three games in Sri Lanka and taken eight wickets.
Among India's bowlers, Harbhajan Singh is the clear leader, with an economy rate that is almost as good as Vettori's. Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra have done well too, but Ishant Sharma has gone at more than a run a ball, though he has taken ten wickets in five matches.
Among the Sri Lankan bowlers, Muttiah Muralitharan has been surprisingly ineffective against India in terms of wickets - in 33 home games, he has 31 wickets at an average touching 39.
The matches will all be played at the Premadasa Stadium, which gives Sri Lanka the clear advantage - they have a win-loss ratio of 1.91, more than twice as good as the other two teams. Jayasuriya has scored 2373 runs here at an average of 38.27, but Jayawardene and Sangakkara haven't impressed much.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo