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24-Nov-2012 05:52:00 GMT
Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo

Kiwis Look for Better Show Against Spin

Colombo: New Zealand will be keen to put in an improved batting performance against Sri Lankan spin in the second and final Test in Colombo from Sunday to halt their losing streak.

The 10-wicket defeat in the opening match in Galle on Monday was the fifth consecutive Test loss for the Black Caps, following two defeats each in the West Indies and India.

New Zealand's worst run came between January 1954 and October 1955 when they lost six Tests in a row.

Captain Ross Taylor said his team needed to solve their batting problems against spin, especially against left-arm spinner Rangana Herath who grabbed 11 wickets on a slow turning track in Galle.

Herath, who is again expected to play a key role, has been troubling touring sides this year with his subtle variations. He has already taken 45 wickets in six home Tests, with two hauls of 10 or more wickets in a match.

New Zealand managed just 221 in their first innings and 118 in the second before losing the opening Test inside three days, with Brendon McCullum and Daniel Flynn alone making half-centuries in the match.

The tourists will be encouraged with the performance of their fast bowlers, especially Tim Southee who bagged four quick wickets in the first innings to restrict Sri Lanka's lead to just 26.

But the batsmen failed to build on their pacemen's efforts in the second innings, setting a modest 93-run target for the hosts.

Tim Southee, whose terrific second-day spell breathed life into the first Test, is also doubtful for the second. New Zealand have two more seam bowlers in their ranks, and the experience of Chris Martin will likely be preferred over the aggression of Neil Wagner, if Southee doesn't pass the fitness test.

James Franklin had a woeful first Test with the bat, as epitomised by his 44-ball 3 in the first innings, and New Zealand may replace him with Rob Nicol. Nicol is an opener, but he may have to move into the middle order to prevent a major reshuffle.

Sri Lanka were under pressure at 50-5 in their first innings before skipper Mahela Jayawardene (91) and vice-captain Angelo Mathews (79) propped up the innings with a 156-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Herath was not the only bowler to test the New Zealand batsmen as pacemen Nuwan Kulasekara and Shaminda Eranga also struck at crucial stages, sharing seven wickets.

Sri Lanka will be determined to wrap up the series with a win in Colombo and boost their confidence ahead of next month's tough tour of Australia.

Kulasekara and Eranga are the likely new-ball pair, and Chanaka Welegedara will only play if a third seamer is deemed necessary.

Teams from

Sri Lanka
DPMD Jayawardene (captain), AD Mathews, LD Chandimal, RMS Eranga, HMRKB Herath, HAPW Jayawardene (wk), S Randiv, FDM Karunaratne, PHT Kaushal, KMDN Kulasekara, NT Paranavitana, KTGD Prasad, TT Samaraweera, KC Sangakkara, UWMBCA Welegedara

New Zealand
LRPL Taylor (captain), TD Astle, TA Boult, DAJ Bracewell, DR Flynn, JEC Franklin, MJ Guptill, BB McCullum, CS Martin, RJ Nicol, JS Patel, TG Southee, CFK van Wyk (wk), N Wagner, KS Williamson

Pitch and conditions
The Colombo weather has largely held over the past week or so, and the only showers have been in the evening. A little more rain is forecast for the coming week, but if it follows the recent pattern, it may not have a major effect on the cricket.

Stats and trivia

  • The victory in Galle was Sri Lanka's fourth Test win since Muttiah Muralitharan retired in July 2010
  • Before the Mumbai Test between England and India began, Rangana Herath was leading Graeme Swann by one wicket in 2012, with 46 victims. Herath had played four fewer Tests
  • The P Sara Oval has had only one draw since 1993, but New Zealand were involved in that occasion in 2003, when Stephen Fleming hit an unbeaten 274.

Match facts
November 25-29, 2012
Start time 1000 local (0430 GMT)

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