AUCKLAND, March 25, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bowl in the opening one-day international against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.
Captain Dasun Shanaka said the recent history of ODI results at diminutive Eden Park helped sway his decision and also prompted the selection of four seam bowlers and a lone spinner in Wanindu Hasaranga.
Sri Lanka included experienced former Test captain Angelo Mathews, who is set to bat at four in his first ODI in more than two years.
Mathews is one of just four starting players who were involved in the second Test loss in Wellington this week, handing New Zealand a 2-0 series sweep.
The tourists need to sweep the three-match ODI series to qualify automatically for the World Cup and avoid the prospect of playing in a qualifying tournament in June-July.
"It is a very important series for us for the World Cup qualifying, but the important thing is that we play good cricket," Shanaka said. "New Zealand are a good side but we are here to play good cricket and win matches."
Tom Latham will lead an inexperienced Black Caps team missing senior trio Kane Williamson, Devon Conway and Tim Southee, who have left to take up their Indian Premier League contracts.
Opening batsman Chad Bowes and spin bowling allrounder Rachin Ravindra will make ODI debuts.
"Obviously, a few different faces to what this side usually has, but I guess heading into a World Cup, every preparation you get is important," Latham said.
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Chad Bowes, Will Young, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (capt), Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Blair Tickner.
Sri Lanka: Nuwandidu Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Wayne Knights (NZL)
TV umpire: Chris Brown (NZL)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)