New Zealand v Sri Lanka 2nd Test

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

New Zealand v Sri Lanka | Second Test | Seddon Park, Hamilton | 18-22 December

After the first match ended in a 122 run defeat, the Sri Lankans will be out to atone for a less than impressive display. With only one more test scheduled for the series - Ah, the joys of the modern game and the ever increasing demand for limited overs cricket - Sri Lanka are going to have to up their game tenfold if they are to level the series.

Can the Black Caps inflict a whitewash upon their opponents or will The Lions fight back and salvage some pride? Let's see if we can find out.

To Win Match (Expected Odds)
New Zealand 1/2
Draw 3/1
Sri Lanka 6/1

New Zealand 
It may be a charitable time of the year but Trent Boult and Tim Southee showed not even the slightest inkling of philanthropy as they rattled through the Sri Lankan batting line up in the second innings. The two quicks were in devastating form taking five, second innings, wickets between them. They were well supported by young spinner, Mitchell Santner, who picked up two sticks and went at a miserly economy rate of 2.40 RPO.

The first innings bowling stats almost mirror those of the second innings. Boult managed to claim two wickets in both innings, while Southee took three in each and Satner finished the game with four wickets to his name. Neil Wagner weighed in with five wickets - three in the first innings and two in the second.

Don't be fooled by the paragraphs above, though, it wasn't only the New Zealand bowlers who put in a performance of magnitude. Solid batting displays by Kane Williamson (88) and Brendan McCullum (75) and a magnificent 156 from Martin Guptill saw the Kiwis post 431 runs in their first innings. And while their opponents fought back valiantly in their first innings to only trail the Black Caps score by 137 runs, the home side were assured of a victory by Tom Latham's century in the second innings. The 23-year old's 109 run stand may not have been the briskest of innings but it ensured New Zealand would hold all the cards going into the final two days.

New Zealand will now look to replicate that display in the second test and with most of their squad in good form, I can't see the selectors committee making too many changes.

Sri Lanka
It seems the days of a Sri Lankan top order tearing a bowling attack apart have been well and truly consigned to the annals of cricket. The Lions' current openers, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Medis, lack the fire and aggression that made the Sri Lankan top order such a difficult prospect for bowling attacks in the early to mid 2000's. Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvin Attapattu possessed that fighting quality that seems to be lacking in this current crop. Whilst the duo had contrasting batting styles, they were both willing to work their backsides off for the team.

It may not be the fairest thing in the world to compare young Kusal Medis to two of the greatest batsmen to represent his nation - especially when you consider this was only his second test match - but the youngster is going to have to learn quickly if his side are to become a real threat on the international test scene again. Both Medis and his opening partner, Dimuth Karunarantane, managed to get starts in the second innings, but neither could convert that early promise into a big score. Karunarantane dismissal in the first innings also helps illustrate that lack of determination to fight. The left-hander was playing a brilliant knock and looked like he may even help his side claim an unlikely lead going into New Zealand's second innings, but a rash attempt at a cut shot when the ball was way too close to properly execute the stroke saw him dismissed for 84. His dismissal effectively ended his side's chances of taking an advantage into the second half of the match.

The blame cannot fall squarely on the two openers shoulders, though. The Sri Lankan middle-order also failed to produce, with only Dinesh Chandimal really displaying some grit. The right-handed batsman managed to notch up 83 runs in the first innings and 58 in the second.

Like their batting colleagues, the Sri Lankan bowlers failed to come to the party. It was always going to be a struggle for a spin-heavy bowling attack to claim a significant amount of wickets on a deck that is prepped with swing bowlers in mind. Yet you still can't really forgive these Sri Lankans for lacking a bit of tenacity. The amount of times a session would go by without them really putting any pressure on their opponents was staggering. If they come into this game with a similar mindset, they are definitely going to lose this series two nil.

One would be forgiven, for thinking they had traveled back in time, to a mid-1970's English county game when laying eyes upon Seddon Park. Spectators pile onto the grass banks which are interspersed with large trees. The ground is the fourth largest in New Zealand and can accommodate 10 000 spectators.

With not much international cricket being played at the ground in recent times, it's kind of hard to give a definitive description of what the pitch is likely to do. The general rule of thumb - when it comes to decks in New Zealand - is that the pitch will definitely favour the quicks. With overhead conditions set to be of an overcast nature for the majority of the five days we can expect the ball to do quite a bit through the air. The local weather bureau are predicting a few showers throughout the five days so we could see play interrupted a couple of times.

Verdict: New Zealand: 1/2
I foresee the Black Cap's quicks leading them to back to back victories. Back the hosts to win at 1/2.
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