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Lankans to put T20 pressure on Kiwis

Sri Lanka will be looking to extend their dominance over New Zealand in the shortest version of the game when the two teams clash in the first of two Twenty20 Internationals under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium today.

The Sri Lanka team is in a buoyant mood presently following their back to back home Test series victories against Pakistan and New Zealand respectively.

However their performances in limited overs and Twenty20 cricket have been quite unpredictable although they were able to beat Pakistan 3-2 in the recent one day series.

Sri Lanka will be hoping to bring an end to their poor record at the R. Premadasa Stadium where they suffered two humiliating defeats and also lost the only Twenty20 International against Pakistan last month.

Their preparations for this game have been hampered somewhat following the absence of ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who has been rested with a groin injury which he sustained during the second and final Test match at the SSC ground in Maitland Place.

In contrast the New Zealand team has been strengthened with the inclusion of pace spearhead Shane Bond who will be making a comeback into international cricket after two years having ended his links with the unauthorized Indian Cricket League (ICL).

The 34 year old fiery fast bowler last played for New Zealand in November 2007 and has so far captured 12 wickets from nine Twenty20 matches. In addition he has a tally of 125 wickets from 67 one day internationals at a splendid average of 19.32 and 79 wickets from 17 Test matches.

Bond was not selected for the recently concluded Test series, which Sri Lanka won two nil and instead he warmed up while representing the New Zealand team in India. Overall the Kiwis will be better prepared for this game and are determined to redeem some of their lost prestige. In fact this New Zealand team is best suited for the shorter version of the game and their past records speaks volume having won six and drawn one of their last eight series, which includes come from behind victories against England and the West Indies respectively.

This will be the first time that Sri Lanka host New Zealand in a Twenty20 International having lost to India and Pakistan in the previous two games.

Overall Sri Lanka have won three out of their four matches including a convincing 48 run triumph at Nottingham in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in England.

The teams.

Sri Lanka (from): Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardena, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Kapugedera, Gihan Rupasinghe, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekera, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Farveez Maharoof.

New Zealand (from): Daniel Vettori (captain), Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptil, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Neil Broom, Grant Elliott, Nathan McCullum, Peter McGlashan, Ian Butler, Shane Bond, Kyle Mills, Jeetan Patel.



LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
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