Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd T20, Pallekele

Rare clear forecast for SL-NZ finale

The Preview by Andrew Fidel Fernando

November 20, 2013

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Start time 1900 local (1330 GMT)


The covers are on in Pallekele, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st T20, Pallekele, November 19, 2013
The first T20 was another soggy affair © AFP
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Big Picture

Fans who have followed this series so far may want to sit down before reading the following sentence: rain is not expected to affect the second Twenty20.

By even Sri Lankan monsoon standards, New Zealand's tour has been a miserably soggy one. Fewer than half the scheduled overs have been played, and two of the four matches were washed out. Even the games that produced results did not avoid controversy. Sri Lanka were hampered by a wet ball in their loss in Hambantota, and a irrepressible Nathan McCullum was denied the chance to chase unlikely victory by bad light, in Dambulla.

So in many ways, the whole tour rests on this final match - as long as the weather forecast proves accurate. If Sri Lanka win it, they can claim to have had the better of their opposition, as they were expected to do. A New Zealand victory, meanwhile, will be a coup, and a substantial boost to their confidence ahead of their next subcontinent assignment: the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, four months hence.

The thorniest of the visitors' obstacles is perhaps Sri Lanka's bowling. Almost every member of the hosts' attack feels comfortable at Pallekele, and they have won all but one of their seven completed matches at the venue. In that time, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis have taken five-wicket hauls, and Nuwan Kulasekara has carved out a bowling average better than his overall figures.

New Zealand will hope, though, that their own attack, which possesses the type of seam bowlers who have done well at Pallekele, can get through a daunting top four and into that less steady middle order. It is what they have talked about doing all tour, a plan that they have found difficult to put in practice, as many other sides have, in the recent past.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WLLWW
New Zealand: WWLWL



In the spotlight

Before the second match, New Zealand's acting captain talked of Ajantha Mendis as a particular threat to the inexperienced batsmen who have not seen him before. Although New Zealand are sure to have watched plenty of Mendis video in their preparation, in the past, Mendis' threat has only ever been dulled by actually having played him in a match. Almost pigeonholed as a Twenty20 player now, Mendis remains one of the best bowlers in the format, but he will want to impose himself again, with competition for spin bowlers' places in the team having heated up.

Terrific when he's good, but pretty poor on a bad day, Mitchell McClenaghan has done little to allay the notion that left-armers named Mitch are not pillars of consistency. He had a forgettable tour of Bangladesh, where he was expensive in every match, and was perhaps the worst of the New Zealand bowlers in the first ODI in Sri Lanka as well. After being dropped for the second ODI, though, he came back with what Mills said was his best performance of the tour, in Dambulla, taking 2 for 34 in seven overs. If he can keep that form up, he may be one of his side's best assets on one of the most seam-friendly surfaces in the subcontinent.

Team news

It is unlikely Sri Lanka will try anything fancy in this match, and will instead play its best XI, with eyes on that trophy. The major question is whether Kusal Perera will get a match, which Dinesh Chandimal suggested he is likely to do. If he does not play, Mahela Jayawardene is likely to open the innings and Lahiru Thirimanne will remain in the middle order.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kusal Perera/Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Dinesh Chandimal (capt), 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Nuwan Kulasekara, 9. Sachithra Senanayake, 10. Lasith Malinga, 11. Ajantha Mendis

An injury to allrounder James Neesham's finger means he is ruled out of this match, which may clear the path for fast bowler Adam Milne's return. Anton Devcich has not fired with the bat this tour, and Hamish Rutherford will be pushing for a place again, while Neil Broom will likely replace Rob Nicol in the top order.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Anton Devcich/Hamish Rutherford, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Neil Broom, 4 Grant Elliott, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Luke Ronchi (wk), 7 James Neesham, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Andrew Ellis, 10 Kyle Mills (capt), 11 Mitchell McClenaghan

Pitch and conditions

The Pallekele pitch has tended to provide assistance to seam bowling under lights, though it has also been a happy venue for spinners. There is a small chance of afternoon rain, which may mean the covers stay on during the day, which in turn may provide yet more assistance to the quick men.

Stats and trivia

  • Of New Zealand's last five scheduled Twenty20s in Pallekele, they have lost one, tied two (both of which they lost in the Super Over) and had two abandoned due to rain
  • In six innings, Mahela Jayawardene has hit the most runs in Pallekele, making 274 at 54.80, with a strike rate of 133

Quotes

"Kusal Perera is immensely talented. He can win a game on his own, but he needs to get more experience. He had done well in domestic cricket and for the A team. If he is up there when we get closer to the World T20, he will be on one of our key match-winners."
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal backs Kusal Perera to overcome his international slump

"Mendis is a quality player. We expected him to play in the one-day series, so we did a bit of research and scouting - especially for the new guys that haven't seen him before. We're anticipating he'll play on Thursday night."
New Zealand acting captain Kyle Mills

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

RSS Feeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TheBigFatFlapjack on (November 21, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

Sri Lanka must be one of the wettest cricketing countries!

Posted by kila995 on (November 21, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

In my opinion i think everyone should respect and give support for SL youngster squad also because the three big seniors will be retiring and youngster will have to lead sri lanka into triumph ... but i wanna give a big salute for the three seniors cause they have a huge impact on Sri lankan cricket

Posted by lions009 on (November 21, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

go lions victory is waiting, go and get your win

Posted by prashadguruge on (November 21, 2013, 12:57 GMT)

youngsters are talented.........bt not sure............seniors are experianced....bt sure

Posted by Miz911 on (November 21, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

I hope Sri Lankans will not include Ramith rabukwella. Give a chance to Kusal who is our next Hero and Seekuge the next best allrounder. Seekuge is better player and he has proved in domestic.

Posted by King_Ravanaa on (November 21, 2013, 11:09 GMT)

SLC should investigate for the reason why youngsters failed in their own backyard while, showing talents in conditions like Australia, South Africa & England. those are the thre places where Thirimanne, Chandimal Mathews got their tons also. though this is a perfect sign for 2015 WC which is to be held in Australia, still need to adrees the issue about playing in home conditions

Posted by King_Ravanaa on (November 21, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

give chance to Kusal, and few young guns. its time to break all the critics against them.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (November 21, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

SL youngsters are like tasteless curry with no use.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

Perhaps Andrew Fernando doesn't get Ajantha Mendis. While the rise of Senanayake does affect Mendis' cricketing prospects, to dismiss him as "almost pigeonholed as a Twenty20 player now" is a bit harsh. He played in Sri Lanka's last Test match and he topped the wicket-taking in the second most recent ODI series against South Africa. And despite his reputation for only troubling novices to his bowling, it was during this series that he troubled and dismissed players with good experience against him including de Villiers... his 6 for 16 against Australia not that long ago included Watson, Haddin….Chris Gayle wouldn't agree either.

Posted by CricIndia208 on (November 21, 2013, 7:40 GMT)

New Zealand will win. Sri Lanka are a poor team and do not deserve to win. Victory for New Zealand will be good boost for the young, talented team.

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Tour Results
Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Pallekele - Nov 21, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets (with 13 balls remaining)
Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Pallekele - Nov 19, 2013
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Dambulla - Nov 16, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 36 runs (D/L method)
Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Hambantota - Nov 12, 2013
New Zealand won by 4 wickets (with 0 balls remaining) (D/L method)
Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Hambantota - Nov 10, 2013
No result
More results »
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