Sri Lanka in New Zealand 2004-05 December 16, 2004

Tuffey gets going after injury

Daryl Tuffey will be hoping for no slip-ups as he returns for New Zealand © Getty Images

There were no surprises in the New Zealand squad for the first three games of the one-day international series against Sri Lanka, which starts at Eden Park on Boxing Day.

Daryl Tuffey completed an intensive rehabilitation with a team from the New Zealand Cricket High Performance Centre and haproved his fitness with 11 wickets in two first-class matches. Tuffey returned in place of the injured Chris Harris while Andre Adams and Craig McMillan were left out from the side that toured Australia.

"Daryl has been watched and monitored very closely by one of the selectors and the High Performance Centre staff, and they should be congratulated for the work they have done to get him back to match fitness," John Bracewell, the coach, said. "When he's got it, he's been Mr Consistent in our side."

A series of injuries frustrated Tuffey for the past nine months, but Bracewell said his recovery included a "vast improvement to his technique". He has recovered his ball presentation at the crease, which suffered as a result of injured knees.

Bracewell cleared up Ian Butler's role, saying that he provided cover and had developed "some pretty special skills when bowling at the death, especially his slower ball". The death-bowling situation has been helped with Chris Cairns volunteering to be included in the end-of-innings mix.

Bracewell said he was looking forward to the series, which has added interest after John Dyson, the Sri Lanka coach, said his team was the mentally toughest only behind Australia. A decision on who will open with Stephen Fleming will depend on the conditions, with Mathew Sinclair expected to be preferred to Nathan Astle if the pitch favours swing and seam.

Ross Dykes, the selector, will continue as team manager.

New Zealand squad Stephen Fleming (capt), Nathan Astle, Ian Butler, Chris Cairns, Brendon McCullum (wk), Hamish Marshall, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori.