New Zealand vs Sri Lanka: Third ODI Preview

Cricket ball and bails on field

Jonhenry Wilson takes a look at the third ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka set to get underway on Tuesday at the Saxton Oval. 

Another strong batting display from New Zealand clinched the series for the hosts, but six dropped catches allowed Sri Lanka to make the game closer than it should have been.

The tourists will be boosted by having run the Black Caps close in the second ODI last week, when Thisara Perera smashed a stunning 140, batting largely with the tail.

New Zealand v Sri Lanka | Tuesday, 8 January | Saxton Oval, Nelson | 00:00 

To Win Match
New Zealand 21/100
Tie 35/1
Sri Lanka 7/2 

New Zealand
There is no question that New Zealand have a potent top order, but skipper Kane Williamson will want to see his team be more clinical in the third and final ODI in Nelson.

The Black Caps' batting has a good balance of attacking batsmen as well as technically gifted players like the skipper and Ross Taylor.

New Zealand have never scored more than 300 at the Saxton Oval - the scene of Ireland's famous 2015 World Cup win over the West Indies.

Of great concern for the hosts will be that six different fielders grassed catches in the second ODI, with Thisara dropped twice on his way to 140. New Zealand came apart somewhat as the Sri Lankan all-rounder reversed the pressure.

Ish Sodhi has been at the top of his game for the Black Caps, fulfilling the requirement for a world-class wrist spinner in ODI cricket.

The Saxton Oval pitch should be responsive enough to the seamers early on, to grant the Black Caps an advantage in their bid for an ODI series whitewash.

Sri Lanka
There was no substance to Sri Lanka's middle order yet again in the second ODI. Only opener Danushka Gunathilaka's 71 prevented the innings from being totally dominated by Thisara's brilliance.

Sri Lanka need to get more runs out of Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal if they are to have any hope of being consistently competitive in the ODI format.

Lasith Malinga appears to be re-energised and bowled with good shape early on to contain the Black Caps' top order for some time. He will need to lead the bowling attack - and team - by example in the final match of the series.

Lakshan Sandakan has failed to make the most of a run in the ODI side with Akila Dananjaya suspended for an illegal action. The left-arm wrist spinner has conceded 120 runs in two ODIs and taken zero wickets. Sri Lanka do not have a reserve specialist spinner, but might consider drafting in all-rounder Dhananjaya De Silva.

Verdict: New Zealand 21/100
New Zealand are unlikely to be as generous in the field as they were at the Bay Oval - and Sri Lanka are far too reliant on Thisara. The hosts should complete a whitewash.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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