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Fantasy Preview: Bank on Williamson and Mathews

article_imageFANTASY PREVIEW
Last updated on 15 Mar 2023 | 06:19 PM
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Fantasy Preview: Bank on Williamson and Mathews

Here are a few tips that could help you create your fantasy XI for the second Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka

What a game we had in the first Test. It went all the way down to the last ball of the Test, with New Zealand edging up as the winner. In fact, the last two games in New Zealand, the second Test against England, and the first Test against Sri Lanka, have been an exhibition of Test cricket.

Sri Lanka’s hopes of making it to the WTC finals has been shattered by that two-wicket loss. With that, their focus will now shift towards leveling the series. Their last win in New Zealand, came way back in 2006.

As for New Zealand, this will be their last scheduled home Test for a while, and certainly they would want to end on a high. Considering the fact that they haven’t won a single home series since 2022 (three drawn series), they would certainly want to finish this on a good note. Please note: Neil Wagner won't be available for the second Test, owing an injury.

Ground details

In the last five Tests at Basin Reserve, Wellington, batting has been fairly easy. In Tests since 2018, teams have scored runs at an average of 34.03, the second best after Seddon Park, Hamilton (46.2).

More than that, Toss has played a crucial role at this venue. Teams winning the toss have 80 percent of the matches (3 out of five), the highest among all New Zealand venues that have witnessed two or more matches. In all the matches in Wellington, teams have chosen to bowl first. In fact, in the aforementioned time, only twice have a team opted to bat first in this country.

As is the case in most of the venues in SENA countries, pacers have dominated the wickets column. 89.7 percent of the wickets have belonged to the pacers. They have bowled 84.3 percent of the overs as well. The pacers have scalped a wicket every 56.1 balls. Across the venues of New Zealand, only in Christchurch, the pacers (55.8) have a better strike rate, since 2018.

Suggested team

While you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.

Captaincy Suggestion

For small league: Kane Williamson (capt), Angelo Mathews (vice-capt)

For grand league: Asitha Fernando (capt), Kusal Mendis (vice-capt)

Stats that matter

-In home Tests since Boult’s debut, Kiwi bowlers picked up a wicket every 27.4 runs and 56.3 balls, when Boult was in the playing XI. However, without him, their average raises to 33.1 in 11 matches. In home Tests since 2020, with Boult in the XI, they bagged a wicket every 22.6 runs and 49.8 balls as compared to 30.95 average and 52.0 strike rate, without him.

-Southee alongside Boult, were hunting in pairs. But, in the aforementioned time, he has missed his partner. In home Tests since 2020, Southee averaged 21.4 and had a wicket every 46.5 balls. In any case, without him, he has a wicket every 27.8 runs at a balls/wicket ratio of 58.

-Among Sri Lankan batters who have played five-plus innings in New Zealand, only four batters average 50+. Only Kumar Sangakkara (61) averages better than Mathews (60.45). Overall, Mathews has scored 1001 runs against New Zealand in Tests, which is 27 runs behind Sangakkara.

Grand league punts

­-In his short career, Asitha Fernando has been exceptional. In the first Test as well, his lion-hearted spell in the second innings (3/63) towards the end, took the game closer. He also had returns of 4/85 in the first innings. Since his debut in 2021, among Sri Lankan bowlers who have bowled in two or more innings, his bowling strike rate of 44.4 is the best.

-Kusal Mendis was the star batter for Sri Lanka, with an 83-ball 87 on Day 1 of the first Test. He loves playing in New Zealand. In 10 innings, he has scored 457 runs at an average of 50.8, with one century and two half centuries. Only while playing in Bangladesh, he averages better (64 in six innings).

Here are the top 10 criclytics projection

Probable XI

New Zealand: Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee (c), Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn/Doug Bracewell, Blair Tickner

Sri Lanka: Oshada Fernando, Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kasun Rajitha, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando

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