The second One Day International in this five match cricket series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand takes place in Pallekele on Sunday (9am GMT).
After weather washed out the first game in its entirety, the initial hope is that the two sides get to take to the field. The weather forecast is mixed but there is the prospect of some play and that could lead to the intervention of Duckworth Lewis which could give some better value in the result markets.
If the game does last the full 100 overs then it’s difficult to see past a Sri Lankan win to open the series but the threat of rain brings an added lottery element to the contest. It’s impossible to base your betting strategy on what the weather may or may not do but a shortened game does give New Zealand more of a chance.
Sri Lanka remain the more dominant side and would be favourites even if this match were a twenty over affair. The key once again lies in one of the strongest batting line ups in world cricket which is headed by the ‘big three’ of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jaywardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Every opposing side knows that these are the men to target but it’s a rarity for all three to fail in the same match. New Zealand’s bowling attack is their weaker suit by some distance and if the Kiwis are to get anything from this game, their batsman will have to either mount or chase down a big total.
New Zealand have the capability to do that in a powerful batting order that contains Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor. The problem for the tourists is the fact that neither of these batters are as consistent as Sri Lanka’s top three and it’s actually rare to see both make big scores in the same game.
That will put added pressure on players such as Kane Williamson, James Franklin and the opener Rob Nicol but the tourists’ top order will have to take more responsibility if their side is to get a positive result in this match.
One area for the Kiwis to target is a weakened Sri Lankan bowling attack that is missing key man Ajantha Mendis. Mystery spinner Mendis had suffered from a dip in form in recent months but he was clearly back to his best during some devastating spells in the World T20 last month.
His absence through injury puts more pressure on pace bowler Lasith Malinga and it leaves a depleted attack that is likely to hold the key to this contest.
If the game is allowed to go the distance, it’s down to two strong batting line ups against weaker bowling attacks once again. At some point however, the weather is likely to have some say in the contest and that will counter any advantage Sri Lanka have. It all means that odds of 2/1 on a New Zealand win are just too tempting to refuse.
- This Preview’s Betting Tip: New Zealand to win at 2/1 with Bet365.