After having easily gotten the better of Sri Lanka at Dunedin, New Zealand will be keen to close out the series with a 2-0 victory. As expected, the Kiwis put the disappointment of the Australia bashing behind them, and were back in form at home territory. The same players, both batsmen and bowlers, who struggled against the Aussies, displayed great form at Dunedin, and will be expected to so the same at Hamilton as well. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, struggled, also on expected lines.
Traditionally, Hamilton has been a helpful surface for the spinners, but the pitch for the second Test is certainly not expected to be on similar lines. On the contrary, this surface too is likely to aid the fast bowlers like the one at Dunedin. As such, the Kiwi fast bowling trio of Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Trent Boult are expected to make an impression. Even though Southee and Boult are the more experienced of the trio, it was Wagner, who stood out with his stinging pace, and troubled the already struggling Lankan batsmen.
There were plenty of positives for the hosts in the batting as well. Martin Guptill, who was poor in Australia, roared back to form with a 150 and a 40. Considering his recent struggles, he will be keen to continue with his rediscovered form. The other opener, Tom Latham, also had a fond match. He reached a fluent hundred in the second innings. Among the others, Kane Williamson continued his splendid form, blasting fifties in both innings. He will like to look for a ton at Hamilton. Also, Brendon McCullum will be chasing Adam Gilchrist's sixes record.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, would look for their experienced hands to deliver. Under present circumstances, the performance of Angelo Mathews, especially as a player, will be crucial. He will have to try and inspire confidence in the team with the same. Among the few positives for Sri Lanka in the loss at Dunedin was the performance of Dimuth Karunaratne. The opener was in good form. Dinesh Chandimal also batted well, but needs bigger scores. In the bowling, Rangana Herath will have to try and spin some magic. A difficult task at hand for both him and the team as a whole.
-- By A Cricket Analyst