Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd ODI, Hambantota November 11, 2013

Cricket at weather's mercy again


Match facts

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Start time 1430 local (0900 GMT)

Big picture

New Zealand may have mixed feelings about the soggy finish to the first match, but for the hosts, the disappointment of not completing that game is double. With an inexperienced opposition at 13 for 1 chasing a tall score, Sri Lanka will feel they were strong favourites to win the match.

Their plans for developing young players have now been complicated. Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya had suggested to Sunday Times he would like to rest at least one of the senior batsmen in match two if the first game was won, reasoning, "If they are not at full strength I don't see why we should be at our full strength". With no gains made in the series yet, he will now be tempted to shelve those plans.

The hosts will at least be encouraged by the solidity of their batting. Despite a first-ball jolt and the clatter of wickets after the 35th over, Sri Lanka still managed a fine start and a fast finish. This is in part because this ODI team bats as deep as any Sri Lanka side ever has, but it is also thanks to the enduring class of Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan, who appear to be adding new dimensions to their ODI cricket at 36 and 37 respectively. A fluent Sangakkara counterattacked after the early wicket, and an out-of-touch Dilshan dropped anchor, making a valuable contribution nonetheless.

Angelo Mathews' turn as finisher will also reassure the team, after he had become unsteady in that role this year. He is batting ahead of two young batsmen whose cricket is neither well-suited to limited-overs matches nor to the positions they are being forced to bat in, and as such, Mathews will routinely have to pick up the slack until Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne can become more consistent.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will hope to eliminate the waywardness that characterised their attack on Sunday. Mitchell McClenaghan had bowled excellently in his last outing against Sri Lanka, in Cardiff, but struggled for rhythm and direction in Hambantota, even if he produced the occasional fine delivery. Adam Milne was slightly more disciplined, but was also guilty of releasing the pressure Kyle Mills had built at the other end during the opening overs. Corey Anderson was also expensive, despite dismissing Dilshan in the batting Powerplay.

The cricket, again, is at the mercy of the weather, and the forecast for Tuesday is worse than it was for Sunday.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)

Sri Lanka: WWLWW
New Zealand: LLLLW

In the spotlight

Dimuth Karunaratne waited two years for his third ODI, and when it came, he barely had time to breathe in the atmosphere before he was trudging off for a golden duck. He earned his way back into the side largely on the back of a terrific List A series against New Zealand A six weeks ago, when he averaged 90 against an attack that featured Milne, Grant Elliott and Andrew Ellis - all of whom are in this New Zealand squad. He has hit runs all around the world for the A team, but in internationals, he is yet to convince he can be a successful long-term opener. Though his primary focus should be Tests, runs in this series would be an important boon to his confidence ahead of the year-end tour against Pakistan.

Anton Devcich was the latest victim of a Lasith Malinga yorker on Sunday, but before he succumbed with the bat, he had produced perhaps the bowling performance of the innings. His left-arm spin doesn't generate much turn, nor does he seem enamoured with flight, but nagging accuracy helped build pressure through the middle overs, and for that, he was rewarded with two wickets, including that of Sangakkara. New Zealand may look to his bowling again, particularly if the frontline bowlers are struggling to make headway.

Pitch and conditions

The pitch on Sunday did not have as much bounce as Mills hoped for before the match, though it did provide decent movement off the seam. With the rain likely freshening things up, expect a similar surface, as long as the weather will allow the match to happen at all.

Team news

It is difficult to see Sri Lanka change their side, despite three young batsmen's failure in the first match.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Angelo Mathews (capt), 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Dinesh Chandimal, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Sachithra Senanayake 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Rangana Herath

James Neesham, who was injured for the first ODI, is expected to be available for selection on Tuesday. McClenaghan may be the man to make way, given his poor outing.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Anton Devcich, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Rob Nicol, 4 Grant Elliott, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 James Neesham, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Kyle Mills (capt) 11 Adam Milne

Stats and trivia

  • Three out of the last four ODIs in Hambantota have been rained out
  • In 19 innings at No. 5, Mathews averages 50.20 at a strike-rate of 93.65 - by far his best stats for any position


"If you look at our batting lineup right now, apart from TM Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, the other four in the top seven are all young cricketers, so there has to be a balance."
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews feels his team is already doing plenty to prepare for the future

"He is one of their key bowlers. If we can deny him as much as possible and look to take on their other bowlers, it is going to give us a good chance."
Tom Latham on Lasith Malinga

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jared on November 12, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Looks like we might only get half a game in before the rain comes again so hopefully we bat this time, if we score more than 289 then i'll count that as a win anything less than srilankas total i'll consider a loss, the record books though will only ever say no result.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    These few days i saw no3 no4 Thirimanna and Chandimal in 99.9% comments . I dont think those are fake comments . Srilanka consists of 99.9% people think that way and other people (0.1%) who is srilankan cricket management.

  • Dark on November 12, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Please selectors and Anjy, let Thirimanne bat @ 3. He is a genuine number 3 like the great Asanka Gurusinghe... He has the technique to back him up... He is not a Slogger. He can not hit 6 & 4s at will. Can not clear the boundary like Thisara...Thirimanne is a natural strok player who takes time to score runs quickly... Same with Chandimal. He should bat @ 4... If sanga & Mahela are playing in the team, they need to bat down the order giving this young fellows to shine at the top. Thats how you create a team to win the world cup in 2015!

  • Pushpakumara on November 12, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Dinesh chandimal isn't an ODI batsman in my point of view.He is brilliant for test format.Dimuth is a great talent.Sri lanka's middle order batting is their weakest point.Mathews is the most consistent in middle order batsman but he also is behind when compared to better middle order batsmen in the world likes of AB,dhoni,Bailey.Thirimanne should play at No.04 and Mahela should go down the order as he can play in different gears and also can finish the game well.Upul tharanga is also a better option for no.06.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    hi friends, all in vain in the last match, what a good chance we had with lanka making a huge score of 289 and getting a wicket in the early overs, here if the weather allows u the full match , only lanka is going to win, but if the match reduces to 20 or 30 overs just be careful. if nzland bats first just wait for some overs, may be they play good and the rate goes up for lanka, but if lanka plays first be careful again, bc may be they play 16 or more overs and rains comes, and the match reduces to 20 ,,25,,or 30 ovrs, in this scenario nz can win bc they will play full overs after watching the target. so we will have to see the toss first, if lanka wins the toss they will definitely put nz land to bat and if nz , they will put lnka as well.this series can make u win lots of money but its full of tension as well. if full match lanka is going to win at all costs. be careful. those who does hedging , can have one two swings of match so they can do their bets hedged as well.

  • udendra on November 12, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    They should have scheduled the matches as "Day" matches, knowing that it rains during this time of the year.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    while it's true that chandi and thiri can't handle the positions of 6 and 7, I see no reason why Sanga (of the big 3) should have to drop down at all. He's in the form of his life and it's working wonders for both him and the team.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    @Advanced_Donkeys, I don't think Sri Lankan cricket has been like that at all. In the 80s Sri Lanka had Somachandra De Silva,Rumesh Ratnayeke, Ravi Ratnayeke and Ashantha De Mel, out ofwhom only rumesh contributed match winning bowling, in the nineties and early 2000s Sri Lankan bowling was dominated by Murali and Vaas. In the last five to ten years, THissara Perera (has 3 ODI five wicket hauls and strike rate of 28), Kulasekara (once ranked no 1. ODI bowler in the world), Rangana Herath ( no.3 in test bowling, top 10 ODI bowling and arguably best left arm spinner in international cricket) and Lasith Malinga have contributed to several if not numerous Sri Lankan wins against Top opposition with their bowling. Ajantha Mendis against non-asian opposition is also a match winner.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Sri Lanka was lucky, in the first ODI courtesy of rain.

  • Dwight on November 12, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    this would be a good series to give Ajantha Mendis back in the playing XI as this NZ side has alot of youngsters that have never played him before and he could dominate...also I think Kashual Perera should be opening. This series is a great opportunity to test out the SLC future crop. Sit Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan & Herath and put our brightest future stars out there to the test under the leadership of Angelo & Dinesh. Also it should be noted that this is a terrible series between the combination of a NZ B team & bad weather most likely going to wash out the entire ODI series & it bears no context at all. It would draw more interest as a best of 5 T20 series.