New Zealand vs Sri Lanka: Preview of the Boxing Day Test
26th December at 3:30 AM IST.
Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand
Sri Lankans were swept clean by Kiwis when they toured last two occasions in 2015 and 2016. So at least in the ongoing series, the Islanders will finish without being whitewashed since they earned a massive draw in Wellington.
The debut game at the Hagley Oval was played between these two teams in 2014 and the hosts won the game by nine wickets.
Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunarathe scored 152 runs at this venue. No New Zealand batsman in the current squad has scored a hundred here.
Two single-digit scores for Danushka Gunathilaka has jeopardized his place in the XI. Sadeera Samarawickrama or the experienced Lahiru Thirimanne may be included ahead of Gunathilaka. Sadeera might be an interesting choice under these conditions.
Kasun Rajitha might be left out after his ordinary bowling performance in the last game. His place could go to Dushmantha Chameera. He almost produced a match-winning spell of 9/115, when they played under these conditions in 2015/16.
Probable XI: Dimuth Karunarathe, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara.
New Zealand may not want to tinker with the winning combination unless they have any injury concerns.
Probable XI: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel, Neil Wagner.
New Zealand won all their Test series' in 2018 and have a great opportunity to make it four in a row. If Sri Lanka can win this Test, it will be their first series win over New Zealand in New Zealand.
Kusal Mendis just needs seven runs to go past Joe Root to become the second highest run-scorer in 2018.