Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sri Lanka to start from bottom in New Zealand

A new-look Sri Lanka side is in Queenstown to prepare for the opening match of their New Zealand tour tomorrow.

 The tourists will play Tests, ODIs and T20 matches against the Black Caps over the next six weeks, with recent history showing they will be up against it in New Zealand conditions.

Queenstown enjoyed temperatures in the mid-20s as Sri Lanka prepared for their first tour match against a president's XI.

It's a Sri Lankan side minus many of the stars that have been their backbone in recent years.

"The Test unit is very inexperienced. [They are] a whole heap of guys who haven't played much Test cricket, but we hope to play good cricket and win," Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said.

Just 12 months ago, Kumar Sangakkara scored a double century against the Black Caps in Wellington but has since retired from international cricket along with Mahela Jayawardene, who's been a star of late for the Central Stags in the domestic T20 competition.

Just two players in the Sri Lanka squad have played more than 30 Tests while for rookie leg spinner Jeffrey Vandersay this is a completely new experience.

"Back home we are used to conditions, but here it will be very interesting to see how we bat and bowl," Vandersay said.

At home they have just beaten the West Indies 2-0 in a Test series though Mathews isn't dwelling on that.

"It's passed and we have to move on. Different conditions, different opposition, we have to start from zero," Mathews said.

Twelve months ago against the Black Caps, Sri Lanka lost the Test series 2-0, and then suffered a 4-2 loss in the ODI series. Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson lead the charge with the bat while the Sri Lanka batsmen largely struggled against the swing of Trent Boult and Tim Southee in seamer-friendly conditions.

The visitors will start as massive underdogs again. Their three-day warm-up match starting tomorrow will be vital, with the first Test in Dunedin underway next week.

3 News - New Zealand