Sri Lanka wait on Herath fitness

2015-01-02 10:43
Rangana Herath (AP)

Wellington - Veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is "50-50" to play New Zealand in the second Test at the Basin Reserve, though Sri Lanka will still go into the game keen to play positive, attacking cricket, captain Angelo Mathews has said.

The 36-year-old Herath, who was the world leading Test wicket taker in 2014 with 60 wickets, missed the first game with a leg injury and his replacement Tharindu Kaushal was hammered to all parts of Hagley Oval by a rampant Brendon McCullum.

"Still 50-50," Mathews told reporters on Friday before the second match at Wellington's Basin Reserve when asked on whether Herath would play. "He will have to have a fitness test tomorrow but we can't make a decision until he has done that test."

Herath has a formidable record against New Zealand, having taken 31 wickets in four matches, though three of those games were in Sri Lanka and New Zealand captain McCullum said it would be interesting to see how he handled the green Wellington pitch.

"I don't think we have played him in these conditions," McCullum said. "He is a very, very good bowler. He's a smart, no-frills cricketer who just keeps at you and very rarely gives you a bad ball.

"It will be interesting to see how he bowls in these conditions but they will be stronger for his inclusion in the team and that presents us with a different challenge."

Sri Lanka lost the first Test in Christchurch by eight wickets but Mathews was adamant they would bounce back by playing aggressive, positive cricket.

"We have got no choice rather than going out there and playing positive cricket," he added. "Sri Lanka has always come back really hard after losing the first test.

"If you lose 1-0 or 2-0 it doesn't matter. We want to square the series up and we have to play aggressive cricket to do that.

"We have the confidence that we can come back and win. We still believe we can win this."

Mathews added that his batsmen, who were undone by a superb swing bowling performance from Tim Southee and Trent Boult in their first innings in Christchurch, had been facing two-piece balls in their net sessions ahead of the Wellington game.

"Two pieced (balls) swing more than the four-piece, so it was just to counter the swing bowling and make you feel better with what we expect (to face) from Southee and Boult," he said.

"They have been really good in the last few years, they have been taking a lot of wickets with the new ball and the old ball as well."

Read more on:    sri lanka  |  rangana herath  |  cricket

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