Kandy - Sri Lanka skipper Lasith Malinga won the toss and elected to bat on Sunday in the first Twenty20 international against New Zealand in Kandy.
The hosts have handed leg-spinner Wanidu Hasaranga his first T20 cap at the start of the three-match series that follows the 1-1 result in two Tests.
"We are a young side, I want them to play with lot of freedom, Malinga said at the toss, which was delayed due rain.
"Wanindu is a good all-rounder, he's making his debut. We have a long way to go and it's time to build our team. I want to share my experience with the youngsters in the team."
The Black Caps have suffered a blow with Lockie Ferguson fracturing his thumb in training on Saturday and returning home, skipper Tim Southee said.
"A few guys who had a taste in our home summer will get an another chance in the T20 format," Southee said.
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga(capt), Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Akila Dananjaya, Isuru Udana, Wanidu Hasaranga, Kasun Rajitha
New Zealand: Tim Southee(capt), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert (wk), Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi
Umpires: Raveendra Wimalasiri (SRI) and Prageeth Rambukwella (SRI)
TV umpire: Lyndon Hannibal (SRI)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)