Is New Zealand A Better Bet To Win The Tests Against Sri Lanka?

By Dhanu Delphi on August 2, 2019

New Zealand will never forget their epic World Cup final against England, which they lost due to some illogical cricketing laws. The NZ cricket team took a few weeks to recover from that loss. They are now ready to put it behind them and start playing test cricket, although they are still slight underdogs at the sportsbooks.

From ODI To Test Match Mode

The Kiwis will travel to Sri Lanka to play a two match test series followed by three T20 games. This is a quick transition as the Black Caps will have to shift from ODI mode to test cricket which can be quite a challenge when you are playing in the sub-continent. New Zealand will have a 3 day warm-up game from August 8 to 10 in Katunayake to get acclimatised to the conditions. Then, they play the first test which begins on August 14 in Galle.

While New Zealand had a great World Cup, Sri Lanka had a horrific one as things fell apart for the Island nation. Sri Lanka have also been in ODI mode. They just finished a three match ODI series against Bangladesh. They won 3-0. Sri Lanka will therefore have to make a quick shift to test mode and know that they will have to play good cricket. Otherwise, a talented Kiwi side could embarrass them at home.

Sri Lanka Will Have The Edge With Sportsbooks

This Sri Lankan team is definitely not as strong or as threatening as the test team from 5 years ago. Sri Lanka are in a phase of rebuilding. The series against the Kiwis is the ideal platform for new stars to be born and for the experienced players to show their class. The thumping ODI series win against Bangladesh will do wonders for Sri Lanka, too. They will subsequently take that winning momentum into the test side.

Sri Lanka have lost so much over the last 12 months that they have forgotten how to win consistently, though. Politics in and out of the team have caused division and led to the downfall of Sri Lankan cricket. The Lankans know that if they can win back-to-back tests against New Zealand and wrap up the series, they will silence their critics. They will then position themselves to be a team to beat for the ICC World Test Championships.

NZ Cricket Team Will Be Tested In Trying Conditions

New Zealand are a force to be reckoned with in test cricket when they are playing at home or in places like Australia or England. This is because the NZ cricket team have great bowlers who can swing the ball and cause discomfort to the best batsmen in the world on tracks that offer assistance.

They are not going to get any such assistance in Sri Lanka. Conditions there are hot and humid. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka will prepare pitches that offer their spinners assistance and this is where New Zealand could struggle.

Apart from Kane Williamson, New Zealand don’t have established batsmen who know how to do well in sub-continent conditions. The likes of Jeet Raval, Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls don’t have a lot of time to adjust. If New Zealand are going to win, they will need to put up scores in excess of 350. That will be a tough task.

The Kiwis are weak in the spin department and will once again depend heavily on their fast bowlers. Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner are the frontline bowlers who will have to bend their backs on sluggish wickets. Todd Astle, Ajaz Patel and Mitchell Santner are the specialist spinners in the side. They will have to take on the responsibility of being wicket takers rather than holding up an end.

The warm-up game will give us an indication as to how New Zealand is playing. If they play badly, then put your money on Sri Lanka. If they play well, then go ahead and back the Kiwis. They will be eager to get a win under their belt!