New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg – Sunday, September 27, 2009
New Zealand know whats needed from this match, put simply it is win this one or they are out. It won’t be easy against Sri Lanka, who after defeat to England on Friday need the win themselves, even that won’t guarantee them a semi-final spot either.
Sri Lanka beat New Zealand quite convincingly on home soil in their warm up tournament recently, but after the shock defeat to England – and in particular the way the top order failed – can’t take the Kiwi’s lightly.
From a Kiwi point of view they will take heart from the way the Sri Lankans didn’t adjust to the seamer friendly surface on this very ground on Friday and hope that Shane Bond and company picked up a few good tips from the English on how to exploit the conditions. In theory though Bond needs to be backed up well by the likes of Kyle Mills and Daryl Tuffey, they can’t afford a bad day at the office. In the batting Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullen made contributions, but as a unit it has to be said that the batting failed.
For Sri Lanka, they might just be pondering the unthinkable. With the good form of Ajantha Mendis and on these seam friendly wickets, will they consider dropping the legend Muttiah Muralitharan? By all accounts Murali went for a few against England without ever looking very threatening, to drop him seems unthinkable, but is two spinners really required on these wickets. It’s a decision someone has to take.
The batting collapse must be a concern though, Sri Lanka clearly were not happy with the wicket, a point made by captain Kumar Sangakkara and they won’t relish having to play on this ground again. On a positive note Thilan Samaraweera (30), Thilina Kandamby (53) and Angelo Mathews (52) all made a decent fist of things when their collective backs where against the wall.
New Zealand – Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum (WK), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Neil Broom, James Franklin, Daniel Vettori (C), Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Shane Bond
Sri Lanka – Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (C & WK), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis.