⚬ Tim Seifert, wicketkeeper, to make his ODI debut for New Zealand.
⚬ Lasith Malinga, who has no intentions of looking back, will lead the Sri Lankan side.
⚬ James Neesham and Doug Bracewell are the notable comebacks in the New Zealand setup.
⚬ With Angelo Matthews away due to injury, Sadeera Samarawickrama has been retained in the squad.
New Zealand and Sri Lanka are set to face each other in the first of the three ODI matches tomorrow. This will be the first ODI of the year 2019. New Zealand coach Gary Stead is focusing on the Cricket World Cup, starting on May 30, more than ever:
"We're still looking at some places within our team" – New Zealand coach Gary Stead is focusing on finding the best team combination for #CWC19.
— ICC (@ICC) January 1, 2019
Conditions and pitch at the Bay Oval
A warm humid day is expected at Mount Maunganui on the occasion of the first ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The last ODI played at the Bay Oval was in February 2018 where England bowled New Zealand out for 223. As is the case with wickets in New Zealand, there may be some assistance for the fast bowlers throughout the game but especially in the first 10 overs where there’s usually some swing on offer.
New Zealand’s Probable XI:
With Tom Latham, the reliable opener and regular wicketkeeper, being rested for this series, Tim Seifert is an automatic choice as the wicketkeeper. Ross Taylor, currently ranked number three in ODIs will be New Zealand’s key player. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro will open for New Zealand. The obvious three-seamers of Southee-Boult-Henry mix might be experimented with, as Lockie Ferguson is in the equation. Southee might be rested as he has performed decently in ODIs and captain Kane Williamson has hinted on the “bigger picture”. With the injured Mitchell Santer still being away, Ish Sodhi will lead the spin for the home team.
“There are some players that have been rested, and that’s all part of a bigger picture. I’m excited for a number of guys who get the nod tomorrow.” – New Zealand captain Kane Williamson
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tim Seifert (wicket-keeper), Jimmy Neesham, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Sri Lanka’s Probable XI:
The last two years haven’t been too well for Sri Lanka, especially in the One Day International format. And their newest captain Lasith Malinga is right, there’s no time to rebuild before the World Cup which is almost knocking at the door. Sri Lanka need to start afresh and start well with whatever they have. With veteran batsman Angelo Matthews being away, it would be rather challenging to hold the team together. As for them, Malinga himself and all-rounder Thisara Perera are the key players. Chandimal might miss out due to the mismatch between his low-scoring rate and Malinga’s aggressive approach.
“In the last three-four years, we have been struggling. We haven’t won consistently. But the young players have got opportunities and now is the time to stand up and show their character.” – Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga
Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Asela Gunaratne, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga (captain)