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New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11

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Just one week ago, New Zealand achieved a magnificent overseas series win. They became just the second side to beat Pakistan in the UAE since it became their adopted home, which was a credit to Kane Williamson’s side, who are now building to something significant. They are back home to conditions Williamson describes as “polar opposite” to Abu Dhabi, and come up against a side whom its difficult to find anything positive for.

That side is Sri Lanka, who are smarting from a 3-0 series loss to an England side who were previously winless for over two years in overseas Tests. The consensus from Sri Lanka is that the seamers can render them competitive, but in a country where they have not won a Test in 12 years, their batsmen need to hold their own. The tourists do have experience in their ranks, but can they deliver a surprise in a series where they start as outsiders?

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Key to a New Zealand win

Such is New Zealand’s confidence that only one change to the side is needed when transferring from Abu Dhabi to Wellington. Neil Wagner rejoins the New Zealand attack, replacing the superb Will Somerville, and has a combined 252 Test wickets with Trent Boult and Tim Southee at home in the last five years. Conditions are expected to suit seam at least in the first two days, and the Black Caps’ bowlers can certainly help set up victory. Can the pace attack get the better of Sri Lanka’s experienced men, namely Dimuth Karanuratne, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews?

Also, how effectively can New Zealand counter Sri Lanka’s pace attack? Yes, New Zealand are favourites are at home, but adjusting to a home Test so soon after arriving home from the UAE grind is a challenge. Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls were particularly brilliant in the UAE, with the latter in particular continuing his breakthrough 2018. These two, along with the excellent BJ Watling, will be key again, in conjunction with the likes of Jeet Raval, Tom Latham and Ross Taylor, who were underwhelming in the UAE.

Cricket Blog: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11 CricBlog Cricket Preview
Photo credit: AP. New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11: Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls have been in great touch.

Key to a Sri Lanka win

Sri Lanka’s bowlers have an opportunity to impress in this Test. Lahiru Kamara, Kasun Rajitha and and Suranga Lakmal possess some pace and the ability to move the ball, which will be key against a New Zealand side fresh back to New Zealand from the UAE. Sri Lanka have been fortunate enough to bowl first on green New Zealand pitches in the past, but failed to bowl with any penetration. Can they rectify that this time around?

Also, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews have the task of keeping the New Zealand attack at bay. Sri Lanka come into this Test with a number of inexperienced batsmen in these conditions, so these three are key to their fortunes. Can they enable the likes of Kusal Mendis to perform well and give Sri Lanka a chance of competitive totals?

Cricket Blog: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11 CricBlog Cricket Preview
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11: Angelo Mathews is in good touch

Predicted Playing XIs

New Zealand have named their XI. Neil Wagner comes in for Will Somerville, who missed out on the spinner slot to Ajaz Patel.

New Zealand: 1. Jeet Raval, 2. Tom Latham, 3. Kane Williamson (c), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. BJ Wating (wk), 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Tim Southee, 9. Ajaz Patel, 10. Neil Wagner, 11. Trent Boult

Danushka Gunathilaka is expected to play after his 83 in the tour game. Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kamara are likely to take two of the three pace bowling spots. Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha and Nuwan Pradeep are in line for the remaining spot.

Sri Lanka: 1. Dimuth Karunaratne, 2. Danushka Gunathilaka, 3. Dhananjaya de Silva, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Dinesh Chandimal, 6. Angelo Mathews, 7. Niroshan Dickwella/Roshen Silva, 8. Dilruwan Perera, 9. Suranga Lakmal, 10. Lahiru Kamara, 11. Kasun Rajitha/Dushmantha Chameera/Nuwan Pradeep

READ: 15 funny cricket tweets!

Dream11

New Zealand to dominate? Below is my Dream11 side with a few pointers.

Cricket Blog: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview CricBlog Cricket Preview
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11: Dream11 Team
  • BJ Watling over Niroshan Dickwella.
  • Kane Williamson averages 91.88 in 12 innings against Sri Lanka. Captain him with confidence.
  • Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls are good picks, with the latter in fine form. Also, Angelo Mathews took Sri Lanka out of the dumps in the tour game. He’s in good touch.
  • Dilruwan Perera will bowl lots of overs and will be a factor if the balll turns later in the Test.
  • New Zealand’s trio of pace bowlers are a good pick.
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Stats and Facts

  • Henry Nicholls averages 63.57 in five Tests in 2018.
  • New Zealand have won their last five Tests against Sri Lanka.
  • New Zealand will become the no.2 ranked Test side in the world if they win the series 2-0.
  • Sri Lanka last won in New Zealand in 2006, which was at the Basin Reserve.

Prediction

Sri Lanka’s best hope lies in the fact that New Zealand are coming off a short turnaround.

However, expect New Zealand to have too much class against a side also struggling with some off-field distractions.

New Zealand to go 1-0 up.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I recently partnered with the awesome team at OnlineCricStore.com. 

Hope you enjoy my cricket tips on the OnlineCricStore Blog!

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 1st Test Preview + Dream11

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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