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Winless Sri Lanka seeks to turn things around

Despite missing several big names, New Zealand will go into the second ODI confident of its chances

Winless Sri Lanka seeks to turn things around - Cricket News
While Nuwan Kulasekara came good with the bat in the first ODI, scoring 58, Sri Lanka will expect more from him with the ball.
Sri Lanka has been winless on its tour of New Zealand so far and it will be desperate to turn that around when the two sides face off in the second One-Day International on Monday (December 28) at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. 

Sri Lanka is missing several key players and needs seniors such as Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal, the wicketkeeper, and Lahiru Thirimanne to step up. 

Perhaps the most telling blow has been the patchy form of Angelo Mathews. But for his 77 in the second innings of the second Test, Mathews, the captain, has hardly made an impact with bat or ball. As a side in transition, Sri Lanka is still heavily reliant on him. In the first ODI, which Sri Lanka lost by seven wickets, Mathews was dismissed for a first-ball duck, while the likes of Thirimanne and Chandimal too did little of note. 

Batting has been a major area of concern for Sri Lanka in the post-Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena era. Getting bowled out for 188 on a belter was a harsh reminder of that fact. The bowling has been inconsistent as well. They had no answer to a rampaging Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, and Martin Guptill, as New Zealand wrapped up the chase of 189 in 21 overs.
However, the team can take heart from the all-round performance of Milinda Siriwardana, who soaked in the pressure and lifted it from 27 for 5, to give the bowlers something to defend. He later returned to take two wickets, dismissing both Guptill and McCullum.
Siriwardana was aided in his fight in the first ODI by Nuwan Kulasekara, who made 58 and added 98 runs for the seventh wicket. While his ability with the bat is known, Sri Lanka will expect more from Kulasekara with the ball.
Sri Lanka used three spinners in the last match. While Ajantha Mendis was the lone specialist tweaker, it also used Siriwardana and Dilshan for their left-arm spin and off-spin respectively. But the conditions in New Zealand mean the likes of Kulasekara, Dushmantha Chameera and Suranga Lakmal will be under the scanner, especially in the absence of Lasith Malinga, the pacer, who is spending time on the sidelines owing to a knee injury. 

New Zealand is also missing several big names, with Corey Anderson, James Neesham and Grant Elliott out with injuries, while Trent Boult and Tim Southee, its two strike bowlers, have been rested for the initial half of the series. Kane Williamson's availability is still under a cloud and he is expected to be assessed on the day of the match. But despite this, the home side still has enough firepower to make it dangerous. 

The in-form Guptill and the ever-explosive McCullum make for a deadly combine at the top of the order, while the middle order has the experienced Ross Taylor.

New Zealand's pace battery is also strong. In Adam Milne, it has an out-and-out fast bowler, while Matt Henry – who was Player of the Match in the first ODI for his four-wicket burst – Doug Bracewell and Mitchell McClenaghan are all fresh off strong performances. 

These are still early days in the ODI series, with three games to go after Monday. But with Sri Lanka having conceded the Test series 2-0 and started off the limited overs leg in the manner it did, it needs a win soon to regain confidence and restore its campaign.

New Zealand, on the other hand, will once again look to keep the juggernaut rolling.

Teams (from):
New Zealand:
Brendon McCullum (capt), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, George Worker, Mitchell Santner, Luke Ronchi (wk), Doug Bracewell, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell McClenaghan, Matt Henry, Tom Latham.

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Danushka Gunathilaka , Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews (capt), Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Chamara Kapugedara, Jeffery Vandersay.

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