Having lost the game in Christchurch, Sri Lanka is confident going into Wellington
This Sri Lankan squad pushed New Zealand close in Christchurch in a place they had previously won. There is probably considerable confidence going into the Wellington Test, particularly in Sri Lanka’s seam attack.
Asitha Fernando was Sri Lanka’s finest bowler on the important fifth day of the match, but Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara both produced some outstanding new-ball spells and Lahiru Kumara pushed batters up with his pace.
Of course, New Zealand will still support themselves because of the excellent play of Kane Williamson, Daryl Mitchell, and other players of the top order. Yet, there may be more respect among them now than there was at the beginning of the series for the Sri Lankan attack.
While Sri Lankan seamers may not move the ball as long or as prodigiously as New Zealand seamers, they are frequently easier to hit from their distances. All three of the frontliners in Christchurch produced catching and lbw chances.
In comparison to Hagley Oval, Sri Lanka has frequently competed well in Wellington. In 2018, Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews batted for a full day and a session to salvage a Test. Sri Lanka actually won this match back in 2006.
This is the last test of the summer for New Zealand, and they won’t play another until December. Being the defending WTC champions, they have had a poor World World Test Championship cycle. A 2-0 series victory here would help maintain some pride, if little else.
Henry Nicholls last reached 50 in this format more than a year ago. Since then, he has played 15 innings. There doesn’t seem to be a significant technological flaw there; instead, there have merely been a number of instances of poor judgment and the resulting loss of confidence.
Nicholls is now batting at No. 4, a position where New Zealand has struggled to establish stability since Ross Taylor’s retirement. Nicholls initially batted lower in the order.
Asitha Fernando, bowling in her eighth Test match and only his second in non-Asian conditions, produced a surprise strong spell on the fifth night in Christchurch. He is neither a super tall bowler nor particularly fast.
He does, however, have a powerful yorker and a solid bouncer, both of which may disturb even well-prepared batters. He has largely played in unfavorable conditions, yet he has taken 27 wickets at an average of 23.66 so far.
The surface for this match is looking even greener than the one at Hagley Oval, which had been practically inseparable from the outfield, according to Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne on the eve of the Test.
Yet over the next four days, Wellington is expected to receive a significant amount of rain, with Friday, Monday, and Tuesday appearing to be particularly wet.
Basin Reserve pitches typically start out being quite favorable for seamers before significantly smoothing out as the Test continues.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Tom Latham, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Henry Nicholls, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Michael Bracewell, 8 Doug Bracewell, 9 Tim Southee (capt), 10 Matt Henry, 11 Blair Tickner
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Oshada Fernando, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Angelo Mathew, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Nishan Madushka (wk), 8 Kasun Rajitha, 9 Vishwa Fernando/Prabath Jayasuriya, 10 Asitha Fernando, 11 Lahiru Kumara