Cricket: Skies clear in Kandy

By Kris Shannon

The sun is shining in Kandy ahead of tonight's one-dayer between New Zealand and Sri Lanka - news which would have been greeted with glee from Kane Williamson. Photo / Getty Images.
The sun is shining in Kandy ahead of tonight's one-dayer between New Zealand and Sri Lanka - news which would have been greeted with glee from Kane Williamson. Photo / Getty Images.

The sun is shining in Kandy ahead of tonight's one-dayer between New Zealand and Sri Lanka - news which would have been greeted with glee from Kane Williamson.

The Black Caps' tour to Sri Lanka has so far featured just 16 overs of cricket, leaving Williamson and his teammates dealing with more cabin fever than cricket.

A combination of the rain and the lack of indoor facilities in the country has seen the players confined mainly to the gym, and Williamson couldn't wait to swap the weights for a bat and ball.

"It feels like we haven't played much cricket for a while, just fitness et cetera,'' he said.
"We're looking forward to playing some.''

Compounding the Black Caps' woes on the tour was an unnecessary four-hour round-trip between Kandy and Colombo prior to tonight's game.

After the inclement weather in Kandy restricted the solitary Twenty20 and saw the first one-dayer abandoned, the team would have hoped for some respite for the second and third ODIs in Colombo.

But they arrived to find R. Premadasa Stadium waterlogged and, with a nearby rising lake level affecting the ground's ability to drain, Sri Lankan Cricket shifted the matches back to the Pallekele International Stadium near Kandy.

"There's a lot of frustration around it,'' Williamson said. "The weather has been, well, I say unpredictable, but they were supposed to have a lot of rain and it's come. So it's been very frustrating. We've done a lot of travel, from Colombo and back, so it's hard work.''

But Williamson backed the Black Caps to put their frustrations behind them if the skies remain clear enough to allow for some cricket this evening.

"Obviously it's not ideal but it's the same for both teams. We have to look at it as a small distraction and hopefully we can switch on mentally and turn up prepared for the game.

"We can't control those things so we can't let them worry us too much. We need to prepare to play. We know there is wet weather around a lot, but we need to stay switched on because they do cover the whole field and as soon as it stops raining we're out there.''

New Zealand's plans to give every member of the 15-man squad some game time in the first three matches have been scuppered, as have any intentions to truly test young players like Tom Latham, Adam Milne and Robbie Hira.

The team will be hoping the rest of the tour takes on a drier look and, if that happens, Williamson was confident his side could perform despite the disruption.

"It's probably just trusting in your game because your game can't change too much in three or four games,'' he said. "It'll be a challenge for both teams to handle, really. We know that. I guess the team that comes out on top will be the team that does that best.''
The match begins at 10pm.

- APNZ

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