Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Pallekele October 31, 2012

Weather holds key in series opener

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Match facts

November 1, 2012
Start time 0900 local (1430 GMT)

Big picture

Cricket fans in Sri Lanka must be fed up with the weather. Over the last few months, it has become a habit to keep one eye on the sky. When Pakistan arrived late May, the first two T20s in Hambantota went smoothly without a cloud around. It was hardly a sign of things to come as the teams made their way away from the dry zone for the rest of the series. The groundstaff were on their toes through the ODIs and Tests against Pakistan, the SLPL and the World Twenty20. In fact, the SLPL final itself had a farcical end because of the elements.

Questions were raised as to why administrators in their wisdom would think of organising series during the monsoon. But the current congested cricket calendar doesn't offer much choice. With leagues like the SLPL being shoehorned whenever there is a gap, the weather patterns for those specific weeks seem irrelevant. All one can do is hope for the best.

The pattern didn't change when New Zealand arrived in Pallekele for the one-off Twenty20. Everyone saw it coming - soon after the World Twenty20, rains swept the country. The game got off to a delayed start and only 14 overs were possible in the first innings, as New Zealand limped to 74 for 7. Sri Lanka could only play two overs before the weather had the final say. The forecast isn't encouraging for Thursday's first ODI either, at the same venue.

The tour, for all practical purposes, is yet to begin. New Zealand shouldn't read too much into their showing on Tuesday, despite their familiarity with the venue during the World Twenty20. They were put into bat on a damp pitch which hadn't been exposed to prolonged sunshine in the lead-up. Any batting side would have been challenged in conditions like that. The pitch was under the covers through the eve of the match and another seaming pitch is expected.

Sri Lanka have had a mixed year as far as ODIs are concerned. Despite the highs of reaching the CB Series final in Australia, and beating a strong Pakistan 3-1 at home, the losses have outnumbered the wins (16 to 11). They fell well short of expectations when India visited for a short series and one of the main factors then was the way the Indians got on top of their best bowler, Lasith Malinga. The upcoming five matches are the only remaining ODIs the team will play this year before heading to Australia. It's a chance to improve their record, if the weather permits.

Another aspect to look forward to, from the point of view of ODIs in general, is the new rules introduced by the ICC recently. Bowlers will be allowed two bouncers an over and the Powerplay overs have been culled by five. Besides the mandatory ten Powerplay overs at the start of the innings, the remaining five should be taken by the batting side before the 40th over, with a maximum of three fielders allowed during the batting Powerplay.

Form guide


(Completed matches, most recent first)

Sri Lanka : LLLWL
New Zealand: LLWLL

Player to watch

Jeevan Mendis has proven to be a useful allrounder in Sri Lanka's limited-overs plans over the last few months. The home series against India in July was his most productive with the bat, with scores of 45* and 72 in the lower middle-order. He has played an effective supporting role to the specialists with his clean hitting in the death overs and legspinners.

Nathan McCullum has just tasted victory in the Champions League and his confidence is high after playing a leading role in Sydney Sixers' crushing win against Lions. McCullum is no stranger to opening with the new ball. His captain Brad Haddin sensed that spin was the way to go, and McCullum responded with 3 for 24 to wreck the top order. If he can be as effective against the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, it could give New Zealand early momentum.

Teams news

The fast bowler Adam Milne has been ruled out of the game because of a stomach bug.

New Zealand (likely) 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Kane Williamson, 6 James Franklin, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Ronnie Hira

Sri Lanka will be boosted by the return of the regular captain Mahela Jayawardene and Malinga, who were rested from the T20. Given the seaming conditions, Sri Lanka may play just one specialist spinner, among Rangana Herath and Akila Dananjaya.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal/Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Rangana Herath/Akila Dananjaya, 11 Lasith Malinga

Stats and trivia


  • New Zealand have played only one ODI at this ground, beating Pakistan by 110 runs during the 2011 World Cup.

  • Of the seven ODIs at Pallekele, four have been won by the team batting first.

    Quotes

    '"I feel sorry for the groundsman. It wasn't an ideal wicket for a Twenty20 match and it was very damp. In saying that we didn't apply ourselves as well as we would have liked."
    New Zealand captain Ross Taylor on the opening T20.

    "It's a good thing to have bowling options, but it doesn't mean that even though we have the options we must use them. Guys like Thisara or Dilshan who didn't bowl in the recent past can be used in other occasions. They add value to the team with the bat, with the ball and even on the field. That's why we have been more consistent in big tournaments. We have all those options in the team and whenever we require, we can use them."
    Mahela Jayawardene on having several allrounders, and hence bowing options, in the team

    Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • POSTED BY rajithwijepura on | November 1, 2012, 7:55 GMT

      @Rajesh_india_1990 - it seems you are not aware of "Nilam" storm. LOL

    • POSTED BY mudassarabbas on | November 1, 2012, 7:55 GMT

      will anybody in colombo tell us that how is the weather there now?

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 7:36 GMT

      sreelanka should call back marvan attappattu and kumar dharmasena,it will be a good team

    • POSTED BY St.John on | November 1, 2012, 7:27 GMT

      Hasn't SL an international stadium called Dambula somewhere in the North where it hardly rains? Why play all these matches in the South and Colombo at the Monsoon which affects just these places?

    • POSTED BY himohan007 on | November 1, 2012, 6:42 GMT

      @ Thermal_sytem When Guptil became "key" player. As I know he is just an average cricketer.

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 6:30 GMT

      what if ICC make a rule that cricket can also play in rain such as day-night test... then v can have a match today never mind this continuous shower from yesetrday 2 pm... i think, both team vl hv same conditions where this rain doesn't change that much with time.... lol... :p

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 6:27 GMT

      We hope we can see a good match today,

    • POSTED BY ramz_01 on | November 1, 2012, 5:29 GMT

      please don't talk abt da match bcose itz still raining ere in kandy from last night. I dnt think any cricket wl be possible today.

    • POSTED BY LALITHKURUWITA on | November 1, 2012, 5:26 GMT

      The rain would win this first new look ODI. It is better for SL and NZ captains/players/umpires/ coaches/administrators/scorers to undestand the new rules not like SA captains/players/umpires/ coaches/administrators/scorers.

    • POSTED BY stormy16 on | November 1, 2012, 5:25 GMT

      Strange the write up would focus on two spinners while the conditions suggests it will be a seaming wicket. Not much one can do about the rain specially in the rainy season right? Well you could play on venues that are in the dry zone and are bound to be less affected by rain. Guess that's somehow hard to work out!

    • POSTED BY rajithwijepura on | November 1, 2012, 7:55 GMT

      @Rajesh_india_1990 - it seems you are not aware of "Nilam" storm. LOL

    • POSTED BY mudassarabbas on | November 1, 2012, 7:55 GMT

      will anybody in colombo tell us that how is the weather there now?

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 7:36 GMT

      sreelanka should call back marvan attappattu and kumar dharmasena,it will be a good team

    • POSTED BY St.John on | November 1, 2012, 7:27 GMT

      Hasn't SL an international stadium called Dambula somewhere in the North where it hardly rains? Why play all these matches in the South and Colombo at the Monsoon which affects just these places?

    • POSTED BY himohan007 on | November 1, 2012, 6:42 GMT

      @ Thermal_sytem When Guptil became "key" player. As I know he is just an average cricketer.

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 6:30 GMT

      what if ICC make a rule that cricket can also play in rain such as day-night test... then v can have a match today never mind this continuous shower from yesetrday 2 pm... i think, both team vl hv same conditions where this rain doesn't change that much with time.... lol... :p

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 6:27 GMT

      We hope we can see a good match today,

    • POSTED BY ramz_01 on | November 1, 2012, 5:29 GMT

      please don't talk abt da match bcose itz still raining ere in kandy from last night. I dnt think any cricket wl be possible today.

    • POSTED BY LALITHKURUWITA on | November 1, 2012, 5:26 GMT

      The rain would win this first new look ODI. It is better for SL and NZ captains/players/umpires/ coaches/administrators/scorers to undestand the new rules not like SA captains/players/umpires/ coaches/administrators/scorers.

    • POSTED BY stormy16 on | November 1, 2012, 5:25 GMT

      Strange the write up would focus on two spinners while the conditions suggests it will be a seaming wicket. Not much one can do about the rain specially in the rainy season right? Well you could play on venues that are in the dry zone and are bound to be less affected by rain. Guess that's somehow hard to work out!

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 4:53 GMT

      My team

      TM Dilshan L Thirimanne K Sangakkara D Chandimal M Jayawardena A Mathews J Mendis T Perera N Kulesekara L Malinga A Dhananjaya

    • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2012, 4:45 GMT

      How much more convincing would this NZ side look with Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill up the top??

    • POSTED BY Udendra on | November 1, 2012, 3:56 GMT

      Mr Kanishka, when you say 'leagues like the SLPL' the IPL also is included.

    • POSTED BY Htc-Android on | November 1, 2012, 1:05 GMT

      new zealand resting guptil is a real shocker. they only play limited amount of cricket. in recent times they were loosing too many matches. so i dont get whats their point of resting key players.

    • POSTED BY Htc-Android on | November 1, 2012, 0:57 GMT

      chandimal and thirimanne both should play. tharanga should be dropped. thirimanne should open the innings. chandimal and thirimanne had performed well during the limited oppurtunities they had. so why dropping them?

    • POSTED BY GasPipe on | October 31, 2012, 21:51 GMT

      I am very worried about NZs batting. Why they did not pick Brownlie in the ODI or Test squad, considering that he has been training in India particularly against spin in subcontinent conditions (and is class against pace), is beyond me. We really need to show some stickability. One positive I can say is that at least we are playing the ODIs before the test matches, so hopefully we can get adjusted to the conditions in the entree ODIs before we get in to the main course.

    • POSTED BY amemberoftheelect23 on | October 31, 2012, 19:40 GMT

      really hope the rain stay away so we can have a good match.

    • POSTED BY Dr.Vindaloo on | October 31, 2012, 18:54 GMT

      Sri Lanka. New Zealand. ODI. Rain. Overkill. Yawn.

    • POSTED BY Kingfish214 on | October 31, 2012, 18:33 GMT

      Might be a good thing if the rain comes from a NZ supporters perspective lol :/.

    • POSTED BY SamAsh07 on | October 31, 2012, 18:13 GMT

      Go play in UAE, no rain....

    • POSTED BY DoctaG on | October 31, 2012, 17:18 GMT

      Go the Black Caps!! Give us something to cheer about!

    • POSTED BY Rajesh_india_1990 on | October 31, 2012, 16:49 GMT

      Where is sinhaya?whenever there was a rain in clt20 he comes and talk about southafrica...but the truth is Srilanka is the poor place to play cricket..

    • POSTED BY mgsperera on | October 31, 2012, 16:47 GMT

      Pls do not include Upul Tharanga to the playing 11..As per mahela he will not that caliber where who can add value to the game.probly will face 40+ balls to score 15-20 runs + will miss hard earning catches , very lathagic in feinlding ..Mahela shud open & let chandi & thirimanne bat at no 4 & 5 respectivly..Jeewan & Thisara wud be def add some value + include shaminda eranga as seems very good prospect .

    • POSTED BY rajithwijepura on | October 31, 2012, 16:30 GMT

      Compared to 30th october where T20 match was washed out, the rain is eased out now. I think tomorrow we can see match with result (eventhough 100 overs not possible).

    • POSTED BY scorchio on | October 31, 2012, 15:03 GMT

      "Start time 0900 local (1430 GMT)" This really confused me for a moment before I realised the times are the wrong way round. "a maximum of three fielders allowed during the batting Powerplay" I feel really sorry for the fielding team under these new rules.

    • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | October 31, 2012, 13:49 GMT

      i recollect an Ind-SL series totally washed out with 0-0, guess its gonna repeat.

    • No featured comments at the moment.

    • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | October 31, 2012, 13:49 GMT

      i recollect an Ind-SL series totally washed out with 0-0, guess its gonna repeat.

    • POSTED BY scorchio on | October 31, 2012, 15:03 GMT

      "Start time 0900 local (1430 GMT)" This really confused me for a moment before I realised the times are the wrong way round. "a maximum of three fielders allowed during the batting Powerplay" I feel really sorry for the fielding team under these new rules.

    • POSTED BY rajithwijepura on | October 31, 2012, 16:30 GMT

      Compared to 30th october where T20 match was washed out, the rain is eased out now. I think tomorrow we can see match with result (eventhough 100 overs not possible).

    • POSTED BY mgsperera on | October 31, 2012, 16:47 GMT

      Pls do not include Upul Tharanga to the playing 11..As per mahela he will not that caliber where who can add value to the game.probly will face 40+ balls to score 15-20 runs + will miss hard earning catches , very lathagic in feinlding ..Mahela shud open & let chandi & thirimanne bat at no 4 & 5 respectivly..Jeewan & Thisara wud be def add some value + include shaminda eranga as seems very good prospect .

    • POSTED BY Rajesh_india_1990 on | October 31, 2012, 16:49 GMT

      Where is sinhaya?whenever there was a rain in clt20 he comes and talk about southafrica...but the truth is Srilanka is the poor place to play cricket..

    • POSTED BY DoctaG on | October 31, 2012, 17:18 GMT

      Go the Black Caps!! Give us something to cheer about!

    • POSTED BY SamAsh07 on | October 31, 2012, 18:13 GMT

      Go play in UAE, no rain....

    • POSTED BY Kingfish214 on | October 31, 2012, 18:33 GMT

      Might be a good thing if the rain comes from a NZ supporters perspective lol :/.

    • POSTED BY Dr.Vindaloo on | October 31, 2012, 18:54 GMT

      Sri Lanka. New Zealand. ODI. Rain. Overkill. Yawn.

    • POSTED BY amemberoftheelect23 on | October 31, 2012, 19:40 GMT

      really hope the rain stay away so we can have a good match.