New Zealand's captain Ross Taylor during a practice session
ahead of the first test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Positivity against Sri Lanka's spinners will be vital if
New Zealand are to cause a boilover in the first cricket Test
starting in Galle tonight, according to captain Ross Taylor.
The Black Caps are chasing their first Test win on Sri Lankan
soil for nearly 15 years and are heavy underdogs for the
two-Test series following a 3-0 defeat in the rain-hit ODI
India's spin bowlers shared 31 wickets between them during
the recent 2-0 home Test defeat of New Zealand.
However, Taylor noted R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha were less
effective in the second Test at Bangalore, where his side
posted a confident 365 in the first innings.
"I think the way we played the last Test in India, the way we
attacked spin, is going to be crucial in this next match,"
"A lot of teams think that's a weakness of ours and if we
show that's a strength of ours and play positive and
aggressive cricket to their spinners that bodes well for our
"Hopefully we can string a few more partnerships together and
instead of scoring 300-350, push that out to 400 and put
pressure on the opposition."
New Zealand's batsmen were undone by Sri Lanka spinning great
Muttiah Muralitharan when they last toured three years ago.
New Zealand lost the first Test in Galle by 202 runs.
However, Taylor said a bowling attack without Muralitharan
was clearly a more playable prospect.
Unless New Zealand choose to select two spinners, the
uncapped Todd Astle is likely to miss out on a starting 11
place to Jeetan Patel, who impressed against India in the
absence of the injured Daniel Vettori.
There are five seam options to fill three spots, with Chris
Martin, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner having joined Tim
Southee and Trent Boult, who contested the ODI series.
Martin Guptill also returns to the team and will open
alongside Brendon McCullum while Daniel Flynn and James
Franklin are expected to fill the No.5 and No.6 slots in the
batting order after Kane Williamson and Taylor.
New Zealand received some good news on Friday when prolific
Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan failed to pass a
fitness test on his back and was ruled out. That will hand a
Test debut to left-handed Dimuth Karunaratne.