Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Cricket: Bay hosts series showdown

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Tauranga's Kane Williamson will lead his country against Sri Lanka in Thursday's Twenty20 international at Bay Oval.
Tauranga's Kane Williamson will lead his country against Sri Lanka in Thursday's Twenty20 international at Bay Oval.

The washout of the fourth ODI between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka in Nelson on Saturday means the series will be decided at Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval from 11am tomorrow.

The Black Caps lead 2-1 but pitch conditions could play into Sri Lanka's hands, particularly if they bat second.

Former New Zealand swing bowler Chris Pringle says the Bay Oval wicket has traditionally been on the slower side with tennis ball bounce, which will suit Sri Lanka more.

"There is no doubt about that as they like the slower, sub-continent-style pitches," Pringle said. "But the rain around the Tauranga area could have added to the moisture in the pitch which might hold it together a bit better for longer, depending on the drying conditions.

"[Sri Lanka] looked all at sea batting first and did not seem to know what they were doing as far as setting a target was concerned and constantly lost wickets.

When they chased on a slower pitch [Nelson] they looked very comfortable and looked like they wanted to do that.

"It was interesting that they did win the toss and bat first in those first two games. You would be pretty certain that they would want to chase again at the Mount for sure."

Pringle would like to see more urgency from Tauranga's left-arm pace man Trent Boult, who has been rested so far in the series.

"Whether he was tired or carrying an injury we don't know but he just looked very flat, didn't he, in Australia and back here. It would be nice to see him swing that white ball around and get a bit more zip through the air and off the pitch back up to that late 130ks, where we have been accustomed to him bowling."

Tauranga's Kane Williamson captained the side against Sri Lanka on Thursday and the aborted match on Saturday, with Brendon McCullum nursing an injured back. McCullum will need to pass a fitness test to play tomorrow but Williamson will definitely captain the Twenty20 side on Thursday.

Pringle says it will be hard for him taking over from McCullum who is so aggressive in how he leads the team.

"Kane is a lot more workmanlike and technical about how he goes about the game ... but I think Kane will still have an element of attack in the way he wants to lead."

New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Bay Oval:

* ODI, Tuesday 11am

* Twenty20, Thursday 3pm

* Tickets:

- Bay of Plenty Times

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