Tom Latham will open the batting in the Black Caps' one-off Twenty20 encounter against Sri Lanka in Pallekele tomorrow morning.

Black Caps skipper Ross Taylor told media overnight that the Otago left-hander would replace Martin Guptill at the top of the order.

Guptill has been rested by selectors for the sole Tweny20 and five ODIs in Sri Lanka.

In Latham's previous two Twenty20 international outings, on the tour of the West Indies, the 20-year-old batted in the middle order scoring 15 and 19 respectively. Latham also proved a worthy wicket-keeping back-up in the West Indies for his opening partner in tomorrow's match Brendon McCullum.


Taylor said the fact he was a left-hander helps the Black Caps' cause at the top of the order.

"He has had a lot of success at the top of the order at age group level. Sometimes a player will come in and play in the middle order and that can be hard to manipulate.

"The field will be in, the ball will be hard and it gives him an opportunity to hit through the ball and hit over the top."

The last time the Black Caps played Sri Lanka in Pallekele was at the recent Twenty20 World Cup where the hosts won in a Super Over.

One week later New Zealand lost in the same fashion at the same ground, going down to the West Indies who went on to win the tournament.

Taylor said returning to Pallekele reminded the squad of how close they came to making a run at the World Cup.

"Losing in two super overs, that was our tournament really. If we'd won those, we could have knocked out one of the teams that were in the final," Taylor said.

New Zealand head into the match having played Sri Lanka in the shortest format on 10 occasions, winning five and losing four along with their recent tie.

Play is set to begin at 2.30am.