Deadline: September 6, 2019 at 7 PM IST
Venue: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele
Pitch and conditions
It’s the same batting-friendly pitch. Surprisingly, it has not slowed down despite the persistent rains. Expect yet another run fest on Friday.
The weather hasn’t quite changed. The bouts of rain continue to rock Pallekele. Yet another start-stop match is on the cards.
Kusal Mendis and Shehan Jayasuriya are unlikely to play due to the knee injuries they incurred during the collision in the second contest. Danushka Gunathilaka and Lahiru Madushanka are into the reckoning for the empty spots.
Probable XI for Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera (wk), Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanidu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga (c), Lakshan Sandakan
Injuries have reduced the New Zealand squad to 10 players. Lockie Ferguson was ruled out before the series started, while Ross Taylor (left hip), Martin Guptill (abdomen), and Tom Bruce (knee) sustained injuries on the field and won’t play on Friday. The selectors have summoned Hamish Rutherford for the final encounter.
Probable XI for New Zealand: Colin Munro, Tim Seifert (wk), Hamish Rutherford, Colin de Grandhomme, Todd Astle, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee (c), Seth Rance, Ish Sodhi
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My 11: Kusal Perera (wk), Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford, Avishka Fernando, Colin de Grandhomme (c), Daryl Mitchell, Isuru Udana, Tim Southee, Scott Kuggeleijn, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga (vc)
Sri Lanka’s bowlers have let them down, failing to hold their nerves in crunch situations. Lasith Malinga was at his absolute best in the series opener, but he too lost his mojo in the second match.
New Zealand too have not been any good. Their ordinary bowling performance have been hiding in the shadows of their ability to chase big targets, all thanks to Colin de Grandhomme.
Sri Lanka will play for pride, aiming to wrap up the series with a win to avoid a whitewash. New Zealand, on the other hand, will look to continue the momentum under the temporary yet cool leadership of Tim Southee.
What’s the match prediction then? New Zealand have the clear advantage, just for their sheer ability to keep calm under pressure.
Players to watch out for
Colin de Grandhomme is a different player when given a responsibility. If anything, he thrives under pressure. He followed a brisk 44 with a spectacular fifty – the prime reason for the 0-2 scoreline. He isn’t the lower middle-order slogger anymore. He judges the situation and powers the ball into the gaps, making sure he lays the foundation for a victory.
It was surprising that Akila Dananjaya, despite taking the all-important wicket of Martin Guptill, was not given his final over in the first match. Lasith Malinga made sure he does not commit the same mistake, and Dananjaya ended with a three-wicket haul.