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Sri Lanka vs New Zealand Match Preview
With rain continuing to wreak havoc on matches being played in Sri Lanka this year, it was no different on Tuesday either as Sri Lanka and New Zealand had their only Twenty20 match abandoned due to rain after only 16 overs of play possible. The two teams will be hoping for something different in the ODIs as the five-match series gets underway on Thursday.
Will be back to lead Sri Lanka
Crucial points are in Sri Lanka's sights on the ICC ODI rankings table as they look to close in on Australia. With 108 rating points, Sri Lanka are five behind fourth-placed Australia.
After Angelo Mathews' captaincy debut in the T20, the reins will be back with Mahela Jayawardene who sat out the T20 owing to rest. The squad for the first three ODIs was announced earlier and features Akila Dananjaya who played a key role in the World T20 last month. The off-spinner will make his ODI debut in the coming series against New Zealand.
While Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Jayawardene make for a strong batting line-up, it will be a great opportunity for the likes of Dinesh Chandimal and Jeevan Mendis to cement their place in the team.
New Zealand enter another series with less faith and more hope. The team has dropped several notches in terms of standards over the past few years, and is ranked eighth in ICC rankings. West Indies, one place above them, are 23 points ahead in a widening gulf.
The T20 match was a glimpse of how Kiwis have struggled in all formats of the game as their top five crumbled in seaming conditions. Conditions are not likely to be too different for Thursday either and Ross Taylor's side faces quite an arduous challenge in being competitive against Sri Lanka. Shane Bond has been appointed the bowling coach as the team looks to revive some hopes.
The match will be played in Pallekele. Sri Lanka have been comfortable playing against New Zealand in home conditions, with only one defeat in the past 25 years.