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New Zealand looking to end year on a high

Sri Lanka will aim to make a comeback in Hamilton in the second and final Test, having lost the first by 122 runs

New Zealand looking to end year on a high - Cricket News
New Zealand will thus rely once again on its pace quartet of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner.
New Zealand is set to field an unchanged XI in its second Test against Sri Lanka, after winning the first game of the two-match series by 122 runs in Dunedin.
 
New Zealand will thus rely once again on its pace quartet of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner in the second Test that will begin at the Seddon Park in Hamilton from Friday (December 18). Mitchell Santner, the left-arm spinner, will be the lone tweaker as New Zealand attempts to complete a clean sweep.
 
Of the last three games at Seddon Park, none have gone into the fifth day, with seamers coming to the fore on a pitch that has traditionally had a bit of green. A similar surface is expected for this Test, and Kane Williamson, the New Zealand No.3, backed the team composition.
 
“We are playing the same (line-up) as the last match, with the look of the surface we will go in with that extra seamer,” Williamson said on Thursday, the match eve, suggesting New Zealand would bowl first if Brendon McCullum wins the toss. “It’s green, Dunedin was green, and we just feel it might be more suited to seam bowling.”
 
The New Zealand team and Williamson could both achieve landmarks in what is their last Test of 2015. 
 


If New Zealand wins or draws the encounter, it will extend its unbeaten streak at home to 12 match, which will equal its longest unbeaten home streak that lasted from 1987 to 1991.
 
Williamson, who has already crossed 1,000 runs for the calendar year, has McCullum’s 2014 tally of 1,164 within his sights. Williamson has got 1,063 runs so far in seven games, with four hundreds and four fifties at an astounding average of 88.58, and if he can get 102 runs in this match, he will have the highest calendar-year tally by a New Zealand batsman.
 
Williamson made 88 and 77 in the first Test, but a suspected broken finger had put his participation in Hamilton in doubt. He, however, clarified that he would be taking the field.
 
“It’s irrelevant if it is or not, nothing will change,” Williamson said, when asked whether he thought his finger was broken. “It’s part and parcel of cricket I suppose. You get a few knocks on the fingers and when it doesn’t get hit it settles a little bit and gets a bit less sensitive.”
 
Like Williamson, New Zealand will also depend on Martin Guptill to carry forward his good form. Guptill made 156 and 46 to set up the win in Dunedin, and was the Man of the Match. He was well complemented by Tom Latham, his opening partner, as the duo put up twin half-century stands. Latham helped himself to an unbeaten 109 in the second innings, as Sri Lanka was set a target of 405.
 
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will aim at putting up a better fight, having failed to cross 300 in both innings at Dunedin. While they batted out a total of 212.3 overs, Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal were the most impressive against an incisive New Zealand bowling unit.
 


Karunaratne made 84 in the first innings, and Chandimal finished with scores of 83 and 58 across two innings.
 
On a green pitch, Sri Lanka will need more from the rest of its top order in order to balance out the contest, and Williamson felt that the visiting side would have learned lessons from the loss.
 
“I am sure they would have learned a lot (in Dunedin) and it should be a good game,” he said.
 
Though Sri Lanka has not yet announced its playing XI, Angelo Mathews, the captain, indicated that changes in the line-up were unlikely.
 
“The wicket’s really green, lots of grass on it, so it’s definitely bowl, first and if we bowl first we will look to rectify the mistakes that we did in Dunedin because we were nowhere near our best,” said Mathews. “This will do a lot more than Dunedin. It has a lot more grass and the seamers will come into play.”
 
In that case, Sri Lanka will look up to Dushmantha Chameera to lead the attack, having bowled the fastest across both teams in the previous match. But, Chameera will need disciplined support from the likes of Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Mathews and Rangana Herath to stop New Zealand from finishing its Test assignments for the year on a high note.
 
Teams:
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (capt), Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling (wk), Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
 
Sri Lanka (probable): Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Udara Jayasundera, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews (capt), Kithuruwan Vithanage, Milinda Siriwardana, Rangana Herath, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep.

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