Sri Lanka wins toss, bowls in 1st test vs. New Zealand
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and chose to bowl Friday on a green-looking pitch in the first cricket test against New Zealand at Hagley Oval.
Mathews said Sri Lanka had chosen to take four seamers, including himself, into the match, and one spinner — Tharindu Kaushal who was named to make his test debut.
New Zealand chose Neil Wagner ahead of Doug Bracewell as its third seamer, joining the new-ball pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Captain Brendon McCullum drops to No. 5 in the batting order after recently opening, allowing Hamish Rutherford to open with Tom Latham.
The match is the first test at Hagley Oval, the first in Christchurch since 2006 and the first Boxing Day test in New Zealand since 2003.
“As a team we’ve been playing pretty good cricket in the recent past so no doubt the confidence is pretty high and we look forward to carrying that into the test matches as well,” Mathews said.
McCullum said he also would have bowled if he had won the toss but had confidence in his batsmen after recent test series wins over India and the West Indies and a drawn series with Pakistan.
“It’s important we go out there and attempt to build on what we’ve achieved over the last little while,” he said.
New Zealand: Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (captain), Jimmy Neesham, B.J. Watling, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene, Tharindu Kaushal, Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga, Suranga Lakmal.
Umpires: Richard Illingworth, England, and Bruce Oxenford, Australia.
TV umpire: Steve Davis, Australia. Match referee: Chris Broad, England.