The Best of the Day preview charges down the wicket with Test cricket tips for the series opener between Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
14:30 (AEST) @ Galle International Stadium
History: Played 34: New Zealand 15 V Sri Lanka 8 (11 Draws)
Last meeting: December 26-30, 2018: New Zealand d Sri Lanka by 423 runs at Hagley Oval
Final Thoughts: England have endured a post-World Cup hangover at Test level. The Best of the Day preview assesses how New Zealand will handle their long-form series in Sri Lanka just a few weeks removed from that epic final at Lord’s.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) August 13, 2019
This is only New Zealand’s second Test foray in 2019. They destroyed Bangladesh 2-0 at home in March with a pair of innings victories. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor scoring double-centuries respectively.
Sri Lanka lost Tests heavily in New Zealand and Australia during the last Southern Hemisphere summer.
But the apparently ailing outfit stunned the cricket world with a 2-0 series triumph in South Africa, with Kusal Perera the hero.
Kusal Perera hit an incredible 💯 to lead Sri Lanka to a stunning one-wicket victory over South Africa in the first Test in Durban.
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 16, 2019
Sri Lanka’s last series at home was a 3-0 whitewash defeat at the hands of England in November.
The Black Caps are tipped to take a three-pronged spin arsenal into the first Test, while non-ODI batsmen Jeet Raval and BJ Watling return to the national side. Dinesh Chandimal (form) and Angelo Mathews (injury) are set to rejoin the Sri Lankan team after missing the South Africa tour.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) August 8, 2019
New Zealand are unbeaten in their last seven Tests against Sri Lanka, winning six. Rain thwarted the Black Caps in the Wellington series opener last summer, but they swamped Sri Lanka by 423 runs in Christchurch.
Tom Latham racked up 264* in the first Test and 176 in the second. Henry Nicholls also plundered 162* in the Hagley Oval demolition.
But Sri Lanka won their 2009 home series against the Kiwis 2-0. The 2012 series – the nations’ most recent in the subcontinent – finished 1-1.
New Zealand have won only four of 15 Tests in Sri Lanka, with two those in their inaugural visit in 1984.
The Black Caps have proven themselves as one of the most formidable sides in Test cricket. They provide excellent Best of the Day value as slight underdogs and can be backed with confidence, despite the traditionally trying Asian conditions.