The international cricket series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka will be contested with a total of one T20, five ODI matches and close it out with two Tests.
The ODI matches will start on November 1st in the city of Pallekele. It will be closely followed by one ODI match each in Colombo on November 4th and 6th and one each in Hambantota on November 10th and 12th. Later, the first Test will be in Galle on November 17th, and the last match between the two will be the Test in Pallekele on November 25th.
This series will mark the first time since 2009 that the two have met for a test series in Sri Lanka. However, history is not on the side of the Kiwis, since New Zealand has not won inside the island nation since 1998. But there is a new sense of vigor and hope since New Zealand's new bowling coach is none other than the legendary speedster Shane Bond who will be assisted by former Sri Lankan bowling icons Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan.
The Sri Lankan team, on the other hand, has been bitten by the injury bug. Ajantha Mendis, the talented Sri Lankan spinner, will be sitting on the sidelines till at least the fourth ODI due to an injury. Additionally, ex-captain Mahela Jayawardene and fast bowler Lasith Malinga also sat out for the rained-out T20, played on Tuesday.
Yet none of their absences greatly affected the match since New Zealand batsmen only managed a paltry 74. Their only saviors were the showers, and after only two overs of Sri Lankan batting, the match came to a halt.
Although the match ended in a "draw," Sri Lanka can take solace in the fact that they overwhelmed their opponents without some of their best players and have nearly all the momentum heading into the ODI series.
While that in and of itself is a newsworthy item, it takes a backseat to the fact that these two nations will be partaking in the first series to play with the adjusted rules the International Cricket Council have put in place.
Rule Changes for 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and Reliance ICC ODI Championship
As stated before, the ICC has made several important changes to the playing conditions in all three forms of cricket, and this tour is the first to experience it.
The changes to each format include but are not limited to: Bouncers, Power Plays and Umpire Reviews.
Other important changes include the Leg Before Wicket uncertainties; if the ball hits the pad, the TV umpires will replay each "out" in case the ball bowled was actually a no-ball.
For Test cricket in particular, each team can now check if they would like to play a day-night match, alter the specifics of the ball that is used and even reschedule the lunch and tea breaks.
ODIs, on the other hand, have switched to an allowable total of two bouncers per over and reduced the number of power plays to two.
During the matches themselves, it shall be interesting to watch whether or not these new rules will greatly affect the strategy that each captain employs when deciding which bowler to use and the areas where the fielders will be placed. Additionally, the batsmen will have to alter their swings since the reduced amount of power plays will make chasing the run rate that much harder.
One thing is for sure, though, these rule changes ensure that the fans are surely in store for some cricket they won't soon forget as each country prepares itself for the next eight months to win the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and Reliance ICC ODI Championship.
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