John Bracewell has found a silver lining to another disrupted series build-up, describing the loss of Stephen Fleming and Andre Adams as a good test of his team's flexibility.

The luckless Adams was replaced by James Franklin after breaking a bone in his hand on Wednesday, and Fleming returned home later that evening to be with partner Kelly for the birth of their first child; prompting a recall for Nathan Astle.

The dislocated build-up for tomorrow's opening one-dayer against Sri Lanka is starting to mirror New Zealand's lead-in to the Chappell-Hadlee series, when Fleming was sidelined because of facial surgery, and Shane Bond broke down on the eve of the first game.

But Bracewell was putting on a brave face yesterday, saying that teams needed to be able to cope with unexpected change in the modern era, and that tomorrow's game would represent an interesting challenge for his side.

"I think it's something we've got to get used to," he said. "Over the past two years we've had to get used to players coming in and out and making the best of whatever resources we had.

"All sorts of things can happen in a squad situation and you've got to get used to that and do the best you can, especially, for instance, when you're as far away as the West Indies at the World Cup.

In that situation, you can't just fly someone in. You've got to be an adaptable squad and this week's situation will be a useful opportunity to test ourselves in adversity, and to show that we can adjust."

Bracewell confirmed that rookie batsmen Jamie How and Peter Fulton would both play, presumably ahead of replacements Franklin (who arrived yesterday) and Astle (not expected until tomorrow morning).

That means New Zealand will field one of their least convincing batting line-ups for years, with How and Lou Vincent opening; Fulton going in at No 3, followed by the experienced Scott Styris and the out-of-form Hamish Marshall.

"Certainly the changes shift the point of our attack away from that top order batting combination of Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle and Lou Vincent," said Bracewell. "The way it is now, with a couple of new boys in the mix and trying to get Hamish Marshall back into form, there's a slightly different emphasis to our batting."

The series is an important one for a New Zealand side that's struggled for consistency over the past year, not only in terms of results but also next year's ICC Champions Trophy tournament scheduled for India.

Only the top six-ranked sides on April 1 will qualify automatically for the Champions Trophy, and New Zealand (now in fourth place) will drop to seventh if they cannot wrap up their home series against Sri Lanka.

Bracewell said everyone in the New Zealand team naturally wanted to cement automatic entry to the tournament, but that he was more interested in the performance and development of his team, than the nuances of the Champions Trophy tournament.

"We mentioned that on the first night together, the importance of that.

From my own point of view it's neither really here nor there because we're going to have to play warm-up games during the lead-in to that tournament anyway.

"It's six of one, half a dozen of the other. It would be nice to be in the top six, but then again it would be nice to be in the top three."

Bracewell has been working with his bowlers on their end-of-innings duties after they conceded huge totals in their previous two games against Australia, but doubted whether the same explosive hitting at the death would be an issue tomorrow.

He said unlike Australia and some other teams around the world, Sri Lanka tended to push the pace through the early and middle stages of the innings.

"We need to have at least three options up our sleeve just in case we need to bring someone like Bond back in the middle of the innings," he said.

"It's important to take wickets. The best way to protect your death bowlers is to bowl sides out before they get there, and Shane gives us that option."