Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 5th ODI, Hambantota November 11, 2012

New Zealand's chance to start afresh before Tests


Big picture

Amid monsoon torrents, relocated matches and stomach bugs, New Zealand have so far only sunk further into their rut in Sri Lanka. The second ODI was stopped by rain just as it was building to a climax, but in the following matches, the visitors have been thoroughly outclassed. They have not been helped by the toss, which has fallen against them in two of the three matches, forcing them to contend with a wet ball after the evening rains arrived. But given their poor record in the recent past, the team will be sick of excuses.

New Zealand's batting has been competent at times, and their fast bowlers found decent movement in the fourth ODI in Hambantota, but they are yet to put on a complete performance in the series. New Zealand have also spoken of the soft middle order of Sri Lanka, but have not taken more than three wickets in an innings. They will hope for better luck and more consistency for their quicks if they are to put Sri Lanka's less experienced batsmen under pressure.

Having secured the series, Sri Lanka don't have much to gain from the final ODI apart from momentum and form ahead of the Test series. Each of Sri Lanka's big three batsmen have been among the runs, and Test bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath have also enjoyed the series. They are likely to rotate a few of the fringe members in the squad for some game time.

Form guide

(Completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WWWLL
New Zealand: LLLLL

Players to watch

Dinesh Chandimal played and missed plenty of times in his 43 on Saturday, but there were also sparkling strokes amid the nervy ones. He is in the Test squad, but does not have a place in the middle order. If he opens the batting again in the fifth ODI, and is successful, he could put pressure on Test opener Tharanga Paranavitana who has the least secure spot in the batting order.

Tim Southee got the ball to move so far in the air and off the seam in the last match, Sri Lanka's top order had no hope of edging it. If Southee is luckier, he could be the bowler to bare the hosts' middle order by dismissing the top four quickly.

Pitch and conditions

The forecast predicts rain in the evening, and if the series so far is anything to go by, the teams can expect the final match to be interrupted at some point. In that scenario, the toss is important once again, and the team who wins it will likely want to bowl first. However, as New Zealand proved on Saturday, there is still plenty for the fast bowlers in the Hambantota pitch at night.

Team news

Sri Lanka will be keen to give their youngsters a pressure-free dead rubber in which to hone their skills, meaning Akila Dananjaya could be in line for an ODI debut. Expect Shaminda Eranga to get a match as well.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1. Upul Tharanga, 2. Dinesh Chandimal, 3. Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4. Mahela Jayawardene (c), 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Lahiru Thirimanne, 7. Jeevan Mendis, 8. Thisara Perera, 9. Shaminda Eranga, 10. Akila Dananjaya, 11. Lasith Malinga

Adam Milne could not produce the kind of pace he is capable of in the last ODI, and he may get another chance to impress on Monday. There is a small chance Tom Latham will return to the top order as well.

New Zealand (probable): 1. Rob Nicol/ Tom Latham, 2. BJ Watling (wk), 3. Brendon McCullum, 4. Ross Taylor (c), 5. Kane Williamson, 6. James Franklin, 7. Nathan McCullum, 8. Andrew Ellis, 9. Tim Southee, 10. Trent Boult, 11. Adam Milne

Stats and trivia

- Dinesh Chandimal averages 53.39 outside Asia from 25 matches, but only 17.05 in it, from 21 games.

- New Zealand have not won an ODI series against top eight opposition since November 2009.


"One day cricket, especially with the rule changes, suits allrounders better. We bat deep, and guys like Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews aren't just half-bowlers. They are actually very good bowlers to have in your side."

Mahela Jayawardene on the advantage of having allrounders in ODIs

"We're getting pretty used to staying switched on through rain breaks. It seems to happen three or four times every game."

Ross Taylor on how his side are growing accustomed to the routine of cricket in Sri Lanka, in November

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohamed on November 12, 2012, 9:11 GMT

    I don't understand why people don't like kapu playing, if you take the stats and see how many times that he has got the opportunity to bat more than 30 overs, it is very less every time that he have come in to bat if he has the opportunity he has scored and he is a strong hitter, and can play all around the ground, but the story has been that he come in to bat in last 3 or 4 overs, or when SL in a chase of huge total and RR is high, in all this situation he needs to score, he con not think about his personal record. he is in for and need to give him the chance to bat up the order may be now Thanga is getting ample of chances. let Kapugedara, Thrimanna, Angelo and Chandimal bat up the oder, there the future of SL cricket, why always Sanga, Dili, Mahela up the order, i'm not blaming them, their the best in the business, but we need to players when kuma, dili and mahela leaves.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Disappointed...Only 2 changes....Why the hell ..Mahela & Malinga playing in this match...Should have given a chance to Kapu & Kaushal....Tharindu Kaushal has been benched for the 6th convective match....He should have played together with Dananjaya...

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    they have to give Upul Tharanga a chane to play in Tests. He have beeing playing too long in ODI's without a chance in the Test side.

  • Chanaka on November 12, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    SL should rest Mahela, Sanga, Dilshan and Malinga and give youngsters a chance bcos SL dosent hv anythng to loose. Todays team should be - Tharanga and Chandimal should open the innings. + Chandimal (Wk). (3) Kapu, (4) Lahiru, (5) Mathews, (6) Jeewan, (7) Thissara, (8) Kule, (9) Eranga, (10) Akila, (11) Tharindu.

  • Nilantha on November 12, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    @bonobo, personally I think tharanga should open in tests as he is our future opener..

  • Nilantha on November 12, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    no reason for us to play Mahela,Sanga or Dilshan today, hopefully they will be rested and youngsters will take their places, would like to continue to see Chandimal given a chance with Tharanga opening...

  • keve on November 12, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    kindly give j mendis a chance to bat higher.. the big 3 does not have to prove anything now. give chances to munaweera and other upcoming talents .

  • keve on November 12, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    Some of the people here still wants kapu ... for what ? Howmany opportunities did he get? what does he have to prove .. I agree the youngsters should be given a chance .. We should drop atleast one out of the big 3... for example playing... odi1- mahela and sanga , odi2- mahela/dilshan , odi3 - sanga/dilshan... finds another position for one to prove his talents.. surely this will not make any bad affect for anyone. please find young talent cause once these 3 are gone we might be quite weak

  • Chanaka on November 12, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    SL should rest Mahela, Sanga, Dilshan and Malinga and give youngsters a chance bcos SL dosent hv anythng to loose. Todays team should be - Tharanga and Chandimal should open the innings. + Chandimal (Wk). (3) Kapu, (4) Lahiru, (5) Mathews, (6) Jeewan, (7) Thissara, (8) Kule, (9) Eranga, (10) Akila, (11) Tharindu.

  • Ajith on November 12, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    Now that the series has been won,hopefully Mahela,Sanga,Kulasekera ,Dilshan and Herath will take a break for rest and recuperation and in preparation for the test series.Give the bench players a go against the Kiwis.They need match practice too

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