Kiwis keen to improve Pallekele T20 record


New Zealand will be determined to erase bitter memories of the Pallekele ground when they clash with Sri Lanka in a one-off Twenty20 international on Tuesday.
The Black Caps’ campaign in the recent World T20 ended at the same venue when they lost all their three Super Eights matches, including two in the tie-break ‘super over’.
Ross Taylor’s team tied their games against eventual winners the West Indies and runners-up Sri Lanka before suffering defeats in the one-over eliminator.
New Zealand, who will also play five one-day internationals and two Tests on their month-long tour, return to the Pallekele stadium without key players Daniel Vettori and Martin Guptill.
Experienced left-arm spinner Vettori is missing the tour due to an injury while opener Guptill has been rested for the limited-overs contests and will figure only in the Tests.
But New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram said the tourists had the resources to do well. “If we play well we are confident that we can win,” he said ahead of the match.
“We do appreciate that Sri Lanka is a very good side in their home conditions and more than a match for us at times, but we have enough talent. We’ve got to make sure the talent comes out at the right time.”
Sri Lanka also made a few changes as all-rounder Angelo Mathews was named the new T20 captain in place of Mahela Jayawardene, who stepped down after his team’s defeat against the West Indies in the World Twenty20 final in Colombo earlier this month.
Jayawardene has been rested for the T20 game along with paceman Lasith Malinga, but will return to lead the side in the one-dayers.
“The selectors wanted to give these two cricketers a rest. Their absence from the team is a big loss but with the squad I have been given, I am confident we can win,” said Mathews.
Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis, the most successful bowler of the World Twenty20 with 15 wickets in six matches, will also miss Tuesday’s match and the first three one-dayers due to an injury.
The tour is former paceman Shane Bond’s first as New Zealand bowling coach.
Sri Lanka and New Zealand have so far played 10 T20 internationals, with each side winning five.
New Zealand (from): Ross Taylor (capt), Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis, James Franklin, Ronnie Hira, Rob Nicol, Tom Latham, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, Bradley-John Watling, Kane Williamson.
Sri Lanka (from): Angelo Mathews (capt), Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilshan Munaweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Akila Dananjaya, Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga.