Sri Lanka v New Zealand, tri-series, 4th ODI, Dambulla August 19, 2010

Plenty at stake in rain replay

Match Facts

Friday, August 20, 2010
Start time 14.30 (0900 GMT)

Big Picture

Anyone looking to predict how the second half of the tri-series will pan out will have a hard time finding a pattern from the first set of league matches. Consistency has eluded all three teams, each of whom have had one comfortable victory and one big defeat so far. The reserve day for all matches in this tournament means nothing much has changed due to Thursday's washout; whoever loses the replay on Friday will still be left staring at a must-win situation in their final league match.

Missing out on a bonus point has left Sri Lanka at a bit of a disadvantage, but their immediate challenge will be to switch the focus back to cricket after the brouhaha over the Suraj Randiv no-ball incident. There have been accusations of breaching the spirit of cricket, apologies aplenty and an internal probe into the incident by the Sri Lankan board, which resulted in Randiv's suspension for a game and him and Tillakaratne Dilshan losing their match fees. The controversy overshadowed a comprehensive defeat to India, after which Kumar Sangakkara criticised his team for batting that was "not at all professional and not up to standard at this level of cricket".

New Zealand surprised everyone in the opening match with a strong batting performance, before their batting fragility was exposed by Sri Lanka. One of New Zealand's main worries in the tournament has been the top-order batting, and that will be amplified if Martin Guptill fails to recover from injury in time for Friday's game. They have lost three wickets cheaply in both their matches so far, leaving the middle order plenty of rescue-and-recovery work.

Form guide

(most recent first)
Sri Lanka: LWLWW
New Zealand:LWWLL

Watch out for...

Kane Williamson has had a difficult initiation to international cricket, he's yet to score a run after two innings. Talked up by Ross Taylor ahead of the series and rated as New Zealand's best backfoot player by the coach of his domestic side, Northern Districts, 20-year-old Williamson will be keen to justify the hype surrounding his call-up.

Another player who has had a couple of failures in the tournament is Mahela Jayawardene. A couple of months ago in Dambulla, he effortlessly piled on the runs during the Asia Cup to smoothen Sri Lanka's path to the final. He will be looking to recapture that form as the tussle for a final's spot heats up.

Team news

Randiv remains suspended for the game on Friday. Sangakkara had said the presence of many right-hand batsmen in the New Zealand line-up had prompted him to pick Rangana Herath in the opening match. Given how little New Zealand have seen of Ajantha Mendis, the spinner could also get a look-in ahead of Dilhara Fernando, though the quick bowler may be preferred if the incessant rain has made the pitch more suited for fast bowling.

Sri Lanka: 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Chamara Silva, 7 Chamara Kapugedera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Ajantha Mendis/Dilhara Fernando, 11 Lasith Malinga

Guptill's injury could leave New Zealand with three players in the top four with a combined experience of 13 matches.

New Zealand: 1 Martin Guptill/Peter Ingram, 2 BJ Watling, 3 Ross Taylor (capt), 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Scott Styris, 6 Jacob Oram, 7 Grant Elliott, 8 Gareth Hopkins (wk), 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Daryl Tuffey

Pitch and conditions

Both captains have talked about how the ball seams more under lights but swings less than it does during the day. Ross Taylor reckoned 230-240 will be a par score but, if there is more rain in the air, his estimates are likely to change.

The three captains have had differing views on the importance of the toss: MS Dhoni thinks it crucial, Taylor says it doesn't have big influence on the game while Sangakkara says it gives a slight advantage. Taylor elected to bat on Thursday and the captain winning the toss in the replay is likely to do the same.

Quotes

"The openers are there and it is a tough job when the ball does swing around. I am sure they are used to it and hopefully we can lose less wickets at the top and give ourselves a better chance through the middle."
Ross Taylor backs his struggling top order to come good

"As professionals, whatever happens before games or after games, it's immaterial when we go onto the field. There the focus is to win the game and try things out."
Kumar Sangakkara says the team is not distracted by the no-ball controversy

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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