Sri Lanka v New Zealand, Twenty20, Pallekele October 29, 2012

A fresh start beckons for Sri Lanka

28

Match facts

October 30, 2012
Start time 1900 local (1330 GMT)

Big picture

The last time these two sides met, they produced perhaps the best match of the World Twenty20 and set the tournament alight after an uninspiring group stage. Just over a month later, New Zealand return with almost the same squad and with similar expectations of victory. For Sri Lanka, that month has seemed an eternity.

They are missing their two best Twenty20 players, who are being rested after the Champions League, but the biggest hindrance to Sri Lanka's success may be the memories of a traumatic World Twenty20 final. Time may have given them perspective - they did better than 10 other teams after all - but they will not have shaken the emptiness in their gut after that title was snatched from them. It is up to the new man at the helm, Angelo Mathews, to re-energise the team and push them past their disappointment, which is a process that took months after their last finals defeat.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will sense their chance to begin the tour strongly, with a wounded and weakened Sri Lanka side to take the field. Pallekele is now almost as familiar to them as it is to the hosts, and a pitch that has seen alarmingly little sunshine over the past week will have plenty in it for their seam bowlers.

And therein lies the biggest concern for this match and the tour in general: to what extent will the monsoon allow it to happen? Large parts of Sri Lanka were in drought when New Zealand were last here, but a few days after the World Twenty20 finished, the rains arrived and have barely ceased since. Neither team could train on the eve of the match, and if the forecasts are correct, no cricket will be played on Tuesday night.

Form guide


(Completed matches, most recent first)

Sri Lanka : LWWWT
New Zealand: TLTLW

Player to watch

Shaminda Eranga was the only Sri Lanka bowler to spend the whole World Twenty20 on the sidelines, but he is almost certain to get a game in Lasith Malinga's absence. He has so far made the best of every international opportunity handed to him, which have been few and far between due to injury. He is an agent of swing and is likely to enjoy an under-prepared Pallekele pitch.

Ross Taylor averaged 49 with the bat during the World Twenty20 and scored at a strike-rate of 145.54. If Sri Lanka's spinners don't get a lot of turn, they could be on the receiving end of Taylor's bludgeons over midwicket, at a venue he has taken a liking to across two world tournaments.

Teams news

Aside from Malinga and Mahela Jayawardene, Ajantha Mendis also misses the tour opener through injury. Off spinner Sachithra Senanayake will play in his stead. Among the batsmen, Lahiru Thirimanne played every match of the World Twenty, but did not make the best of his opportunities and Dinesh Chandimal may come into the middle order at his expense.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Dilshan Munaweera, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Angelo Mathews (capt), 5 Jeevan Mendis, 6 Lahiru Thirimanne/Dinesh Chandimal, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Shaminda Eranga, 10 Sachithra Senanayake, 11 Akila Dananjaya

New Zealand are missing Daniel Vettori on this tour, as he sits out with a bruised heel - though as he had retired from limited-overs cricket and only returned for the World Twenty20, he may not have played this game anyway. Martin Guptill is rested for this match, and Tom Latham will likely replace him as opener.

Nathan McCullum would have just arrived after his Champions League triumph with the Sydney Sixers, but with only two spinners named in the squad, he is likely to play.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 James Franklin, 6 Andrew Ellis, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Ronnie Hira, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Kyle Mills/ Adam Milne.

Quotes

'"We lost the World T20 final to West Indies due to a mental factor. If we are to be successful in the future we have to get over that mental block."
Angelo Mathews on the psychological hurdles Sri Lanka face

"There's a different look to this Sri Lankan Twenty20 side, but they will still be competitive on their home track. Experience-wise they can't rely on Mahela and Malinga, but we still need to be on our game to beat them."
Ross Taylor on what Sri Lanka will lack without two of their stars

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 30, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Toss delayed by heavy rain oppzzzzzzz,,,,

  • ramz_01 on October 30, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    thr z no rain frm da time new zealand left da hotel around 4.30 pm local time. I I think some play we can expect today.

  • on October 30, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Currently no rain.. But heavy shower expect tonight

  • stormy16 on October 30, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    I thought the idea was to give the younger players a chance in this one off game and would have expected Dilshan and Sanga to be rested to test a few younger batting options.

  • on October 30, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    No any matches will be played in Pallekele today ! Heavy rains all over the country !

  • navaneetha_krishnan on October 30, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    someone pls kepp updating about the weather in sri lanka !!! hope we get to watch the match !!!!

  • calidfern on October 30, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    definitely mathews should captain the ODI's as well. Mahela has done his job for SL Cricket so now this is the best time for Mathews to lead this team to another world cup final & win a World cup. But all players must support.

  • rajithwijepura on October 30, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    match will be abandon without a ball being bowled. Heavy showers in 12 noon 2012-10-30 at pallekale area

  • muh189 on October 30, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    weather shall most probably have the last laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!so, its worth not talking too much about the game

  • matchfixerpkn on October 30, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    looking at over rated players from srilanka ..series look like similar one as tis ahppend against india and pakistan recently..big buzzz on srilankan victory before the tournament and after the tournament big whitewash to home team..hope newzealand will repeat the performance of pak / india.. bgest of luck srilanka for vicotry in home tailor made turf..

  • on October 30, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Toss delayed by heavy rain oppzzzzzzz,,,,

  • ramz_01 on October 30, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    thr z no rain frm da time new zealand left da hotel around 4.30 pm local time. I I think some play we can expect today.

  • on October 30, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Currently no rain.. But heavy shower expect tonight

  • stormy16 on October 30, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    I thought the idea was to give the younger players a chance in this one off game and would have expected Dilshan and Sanga to be rested to test a few younger batting options.

  • on October 30, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    No any matches will be played in Pallekele today ! Heavy rains all over the country !

  • navaneetha_krishnan on October 30, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    someone pls kepp updating about the weather in sri lanka !!! hope we get to watch the match !!!!

  • calidfern on October 30, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    definitely mathews should captain the ODI's as well. Mahela has done his job for SL Cricket so now this is the best time for Mathews to lead this team to another world cup final & win a World cup. But all players must support.

  • rajithwijepura on October 30, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    match will be abandon without a ball being bowled. Heavy showers in 12 noon 2012-10-30 at pallekale area

  • muh189 on October 30, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    weather shall most probably have the last laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!so, its worth not talking too much about the game

  • matchfixerpkn on October 30, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    looking at over rated players from srilanka ..series look like similar one as tis ahppend against india and pakistan recently..big buzzz on srilankan victory before the tournament and after the tournament big whitewash to home team..hope newzealand will repeat the performance of pak / india.. bgest of luck srilanka for vicotry in home tailor made turf..

  • anver777 on October 30, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    No doubt, the SL wet weather will spoil this game in Pallekelle... do we have any reserve days for this tour ??? No wonder, it will be clash between cricket & rain during this NZ tour... at this moment rain has a big edge over cricket !!!!

  • on October 30, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    It would have been good to keep Sanga,Dilshan & Nuwan out of this team too irrespective of the outcome of this one -off game. Afterall, we lost the important final of the T20 and it would have been good to expose the others to this format to build up for the future.

  • shajw on October 30, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    I'd like to see Sangakkara and Dilshan step down from the T20 team as well, now, so that Chandimal and another young batsman can come in. Not sure whom the second name would be, but the time is now right to start blooding new talent. Chandimal opens with Munaweera, Thirimanne moves up to No.3, Jeevan at 4 and Angelo at 5.

  • Hareendra on October 30, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    T20 is not Sanga's game. It does not suite his type of play. Its high time we began building for the future with Mahela, Sanga, and Dilshan all pretty much around the 35 yrs mark. I think Sanga and Mahela should sit out of T20s and Mathew's should also captain the ODI team leaving Mahela as the Test captain only. Hopefully, Eranga will get a game this time!

  • DilumSL on October 30, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    @Kohli_DaBest we may be vulnerable without our seniors but thats a choice we made. but Iknow some teams who are vulnerable when tha ball is wet. for this match I'll be really happy if they were able to held the game without any rain interuption. good Luck SL. go for the win. and good luck to kiwis as well. they were always good gentlemen in the game and pleasure to see them in SL

  • chamil111 on October 30, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    Now, Most of sl fans:- Angelo mathews is not a good player,good captain.

    In future: if mathews change his name like t.m dilshan did in past. Then who blames mathews in past will say 'mathews is the ideal and most suitable player for captaincy.' thats how names plays in sl.

  • on October 30, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    chandimal should play today.

  • Udendra on October 30, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    I expect to see a seaming Pallekale track, especially because of the current conditions too.

  • KAS12 on October 30, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    sanga, dilshan also need to leave

  • on October 30, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    i believe in mathews . sanga should take a rest, and indians should , must, try to stay away from sl article's

  • matthEw12345 on October 30, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    C'mon NZ lets make a great start to the summer by beating sri lanka that will give us confidence heading into the rest of the summer with south africa and england to come c'mon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on October 30, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    lets go blackcaps come on milne

  • denwarlo70 on October 30, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    @Kohli_DaBest and we saw how your team progressed in the recently concluded WT20I WC. Go check the IND/ENG series whilst we concentrate on the SL/NZ series.

  • solankibhavesh on October 30, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    It will be going to good match becos both side are familiar with Pallekele pitch but when you are playing at home you are on top floor so SL has more chance if their spiner will get some turn on pitch and this the chance for new commer to proove hm self at international level

  • Buckers410 on October 29, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    come on NZ, your time to do somthing in international cricket. NZ need a resurgent like the WI. You beat SL in SL and gain confidence, you then start rebuilding like the WI are atm.

  • on October 29, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Great to Watch................................................................................................

  • yorkslanka on October 29, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    It's about time eranga got a game.. He should have been playing aong time ago...

  • Kohli_DaBest on October 29, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    all the best NZ for a commanding win!! SL without big guns is always vulnerable, not that they arent at other times :)

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  • Kohli_DaBest on October 29, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    all the best NZ for a commanding win!! SL without big guns is always vulnerable, not that they arent at other times :)

  • yorkslanka on October 29, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    It's about time eranga got a game.. He should have been playing aong time ago...

  • on October 29, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Great to Watch................................................................................................

  • Buckers410 on October 29, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    come on NZ, your time to do somthing in international cricket. NZ need a resurgent like the WI. You beat SL in SL and gain confidence, you then start rebuilding like the WI are atm.

  • solankibhavesh on October 30, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    It will be going to good match becos both side are familiar with Pallekele pitch but when you are playing at home you are on top floor so SL has more chance if their spiner will get some turn on pitch and this the chance for new commer to proove hm self at international level

  • denwarlo70 on October 30, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    @Kohli_DaBest and we saw how your team progressed in the recently concluded WT20I WC. Go check the IND/ENG series whilst we concentrate on the SL/NZ series.

  • on October 30, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    lets go blackcaps come on milne

  • matthEw12345 on October 30, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    C'mon NZ lets make a great start to the summer by beating sri lanka that will give us confidence heading into the rest of the summer with south africa and england to come c'mon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on October 30, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    i believe in mathews . sanga should take a rest, and indians should , must, try to stay away from sl article's

  • KAS12 on October 30, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    sanga, dilshan also need to leave