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Day one Black Caps v Sri Lanka

10/12/2015

Despite being put in to bat on a Dunedin pitch with a slight greenish tinge, which the Sri Lankans must have hoped would offer assistance, the Black Caps finished ahead of the game on 409-8.

Here are some brief observations from the first day of New Zealand’s international summer of cricket.

  1. Guptill played positively and capitalised on slices of luck. Cricket is a funny game and sometimes a slice or two of luck is all that is needed for players to have a reversal of fortunes. Today he came out with positive intent from ball one and looked much more comfortable with a scoring first approach rather than the overly defensive mindset he has adopted in test match cricket previously. The opening batsman sliced a couple of outside edges but he continued to play with intent and settle down to make the kind of big score test match sides need from their top order to start to dictate terms in a game.
  2. Tom Latham looks too good not to make big runs in test match cricket. Latham was impressive in Australia where he consistently registered starts but at the moment he seems too good at finding ways to get out. Cricket can be a cruel game when one mistake can undo your previous hard work but I think the stoic Cantabrian will register a big score in this series.
  3. Sri Lanka’s seamers lacked the consistency necessary to build pressure in test match cricket. Conceding nearly forty runs inside the opening eight overs places you immediately on the back foot in test match cricket. Too many balls were comfortably driven or left alone and the kiwi batsmen weren’t challenged enough. There were similarities to the way the kiwi bowlers began tests against Australia in Brisbane and Perth. Latham’s dismissal was a genuine error and something of an abberation. It was not the result of applied pressure from good bowling.
  4. There’s something about Santner. Mitchell Santner only scored 12 today but he continues to impress me.  His confident back foot punch for four off his first ball followed by the use of his feet to play a decisive  and dismissive lofted off-drive to dispatch spinner Siriwardana, Santner is demonstrating he has the talent to cut it at the top. He looks an organised and composed player at the crease (I suspect his gear big is very neat and tidy:)).
  5. Second new ball would have excited kiwi seamers. Deliveries that shaped and seamed, making life tough for Doug Bracewell and a delivery that induced an edge from the well ensconced Guptill means facing up to a fresh and energised Tim Southee and Trent Boult won’t be easy for the Sri Lankans.

Early on I think this could be a very one sided test match with the possibility of New Zealand compiling an additional fifty runs to further demoralise the Sri Lankans, the visitors can’t afford to let their heads drop. Aside from the two Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayarwadena sized holes in the Lankans batting line-up, the Sri Lankans have a pretty inexperienced batting order and following a score in excess of 400 won’t be easy. Angelo Matthews has an underwhelming record in this country so far and runs from him could be very important but I suspect he won’t be able to keep them in the game unless there is a big contribution from one of the top order.

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