Black Caps likely unchanged for 2nd Test

Trent Boult (Getty)
Trent Boult (Getty)

Hamilton - New Zealand is expected to name an unchanged line-up for the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka starting at Seddon Park on Friday, encouraged by a green pitch to retain four seam bowlers.

Spinner Mark Craig is again expected to omitted, as he was for the first Test in Dunedin which New Zealand won by 122 runs.

New Zealand will likely retain seamers Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell while left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner will play as the all-rounder.

The pitch at Dunedin's University Oval was also green ahead of the first Test but produced none of the fireworks Sri Lanka expected when it won the toss and bowled. Conditions in Hamilton may be more humid, producing more swing which will suit the New Zealand bowlers.

Leading New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson said the greenish appearance of the pitch may be deceptive and overhead conditions were likely to be more influential.

"It's green," he said. "Dunedin was green and we feel it might be more suited to seam bowling.

"Every surface that we play on here starts out green. I think that it will be a good cricket surface but if it swings, that's when I think it offers more to the bowlers."

Sri Lanka also named four seamers in its line-up for the Dunedin test and could do so again, along with spinner Rangana Herath.

Coach Jerome Jayaratne said the pitch appeared to have been prepared to favour New Zealand's seamers.

"My intelligence tells that Hamilton is supposed to take spin as the game goes on," Jayaratne said. "But I'm assuming that the wicket has been doctored to suit the New Zealanders, which is understandable.

"As the game goes on, if the behaviour of the square stays the same, it might slow down but there is a lot of grass on the track."

Frontline Sri Lankan seamers Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep and Dushmantha Chameera struggled in the conditions at Dunedin, conceding more than four runs an over while captain Angelo Mathews took a containing role.

After being sent in, New Zealand made 431 in its first innings, setting up its win and Jayaratne said his pace bowlers need to maintain tighter lines.

"We did not maximise that first session in Dunedin," he said. "Our lines were not strong enough to keep them under tight control. We have to try to bowl a bit straighter make them play more often."

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