New Zealand’s cricketers arrived in Colombo yesterday as Sri Lanka Cricket re-organised their tour itinerary withdrawing two T20 matches from the original venue at the Premadasa Stadium and having all three T20s played now at Pallekele in Kandy.
Originally Pallekele was to host only the third and last T20 match on September 6 with the first two matches at the Premadasa Stadium on August 31and September 2.
The New Zealanders will open their tour with a three-day match against a Sri Lanka second string team in Katunayake from August 8 to 10 before the first Test in Galle from August 14 to 18.
The second and final Test will be played at the P Sara Oval in Colombo from August 22 to 26 followed by the three T20 Internationals.
New Zealand have named four spinners in their squad for the two-Test series which also marks the start of the World Test Championship for both teams.
The four spinners are off spinner Will Somerville, left-armer Ajaz Patel, Mitchell Santner and leg spinner Todd Astle who made his debut in Colombo seven years ago.
“Playing three spinners is an option in Sri Lankan conditions and we believe this group provides the best variations and skill mix on offer,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said.
Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme are the fast bowlers in the tour party. Both Boult and Southeee have had some successful tours of Sri Lanka in the past and on one occasion accounted for 15 wickets in a Test at the P Sara Oval where New Zealand won the match by 167 runs.
In the batting, captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor are the only two who have played Test cricket in Sri Lanka.
But it is more likely that Sri Lankan cricket followers will be more focused on the three T20 Internationals than the two Test matches following New Zealand’s showing in the recently concluded World Cup where they ended runners-up after an electrifying final against England.
Sri Lanka have yet to name its squad for the two Test matches while the Kiwis have already enlisted former Sri Lanka batsman Thilan Samaraweera to provide them with some insights into the home team, their playing ways and the conditions.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval,Will Somerville, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.
Courtesy, the Sunday Observer