New Zealand vs Sri Lanka: First ODI Preview

Cricket ball and bails on field

Sri Lanka showed fight in the Test series but remained well off the pace of the Black Caps - and that is expected to continue in the ODI series.

The tourists are still without the man who has been their standout performer with the ball. Akila Dananjaya remains suspended for an illegal action and as a result, the team are short an x-factor player.

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka | Thursday, 3 January | Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui | 03:00 

To Win Match
New Zealand 31/100
Tie 35/1
Sri Lanka 5/2

New Zealand
This series is all about working out World Cup combinations for New Zealand, who will feel they are among the teams who could claim the trophy in the English summer.

New Zealand have been massively boosted by the return to form of batting veteran Ross Taylor, who found his groove in the United Arab Emirates and could play a big role in a push for the World Cup alongside skipper Kane Williamson.

The Black Caps have an imposing top order and welcome back Martin Guptill to a batting lineup that already includes Taylor, Williamson and Tom Latham.

New Zealand have a battery of seamers that are set to challenge the touring Sri Lankans, whose aversion to pace and bounce is well documented. The hosts will be led by Trent Boult and Tim Southee, backed up by Matt Henry and Doug Bracewell.

Sri Lanka
Lasith Malinga arrives to skipper the ODI side that will have to do without injury-prone former captain Angelo Mathews. Mathews was injured in the second Test and withdrew from the rest of the tour.

That has left Sri Lanka short on quality in the middle of their batting order. They are likely to rely heavily on explosive starts and runs from their frequent saviour, allrounder Thisara Perera.

With Mathews out, Thisara will also need to do a job with the ball in a series that will act as a barometer for Sri Lanka's preparation for the World Cup. Sri Lanka have some handy players but they will struggle to compete with the Black Caps, who are an elite outfit.

Sri Lanka have left Suranga Lakmal, arguably their most consistent seamer, out of the ODI squad in a questionable selection.

Verdict: New Zealand 31/100
New Zealand's knowledge of conditions and all-round quality should be too much for Sri Lanka to overcome.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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