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Sports


Sri Lanka hope to maintain home record against formidable New Zealand

Sri Lanka hope to maintain home record against formidable New Zealand

Galle, Aug 13 (UNI) Fresh from a 3-0 win in the one-day international series against

Bangladesh, hosts Sri Lanka will look to translate that form to the longest format

when they face New Zealand in the first of a two-Test series, beginning on

Wednesday here.

When they toured New Zealand in December 2018, Sri Lanka showed immense

grit and resistance to save the first Test, but were outplayed in the second, losing

by 423 runs – their heaviest defeat ever in terms of runs.

However, this time, in spin-friendly conditions, Dimuth Karunaratne's men will be

confident of taking the lead.

New Zealand have won five successive Test series since December 2017, but are

yet to win a series in Sri Lanka since they first toured in 1984. Furthermore, the

visitors couldn't get much match practice, with only 65.5 overs of play possible in

the rain-affected warm-up game against Sri Lanka Board President's XI.

In that time, however, Ajaz Patel, the left-arm spinner, was able to make a strong

case for himself with returns of 5/41 in his 10-over spell, an ICC report said.

In December 2018, after the first Test in Wellington ended in a draw, Sri Lanka's

new ball pair of Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara ran through New Zealand to

bundle them out for 178 in the first innings. However, Trent Boult returned the

favour, picking 6/30 as Sri Lanka managed just 104, conceding a 74-run lead.

Then, daddy hundreds from Tom Latham (176) and Henry Nicholls (162) extended

New Zealand's lead further to 659 as the hosts posted 585/4 in their second innings.

Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner then shared nine wickets to bowl Sri Lanka out

for 236 for a thumping 423-run win.

Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka captain said, “This is the time we have to bring

some youngsters for the next couple of years. We’ve had an issue recently, where

we didn’t have that strong bench. But players are now ready, and they’ll grab the

chances that come their way. You need a lot of players to build up that competition

within a team, so that players are constantly putting pressure on each other to

perform."

Gary Stead, New Zealand coach said, "The thing that impressed me most about

this team is their ability to adapt quickly to situations. When you consider playing at

Abu Dhabi or Colombo, and then New Zealand conditions, your players must adjust

quickly, and that's the real strength of this team. It's led by Kane (Williamson), and

he's led from the front in terms of how we go about doing that."

UNI XC-BM

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