Sri Lanka to Bat First!

Kane Williamson will captain New Zealand for the ninth time in a one-day cricket international, as the hosts bowl first in the series finale against Sri Lanka in Wellington today.

Williamson was promoted to lead the side in the absence of Brendon McCullum, who was rested from the seventh ODI with the Black Caps having already clinched the series 4-1.

Sri Lanka’s captain Lahiru Thirimanne called correctly and chose to bat in brilliantly fine weather on a pitch he felt would be at its best in the first 50 overs.

Williamson said he would have bowled first if he’d won the toss, adding he wasn’t sure how the pitch would behave and they hoped that evening dew would make it easier to bat on, under lights at Westpac Stadium.

New Zealand made two changes from their 120-run win in Dunedin, with opener Tom Latham replacing McCullum and paceman Tim Southee returning for Trent Boult. Fast bowler Adam Milne remains sidelined with a side strain.

Williamson has led New Zealand eight times in ODIs, the latest when he guided them to a 3-2 win against Pakistan in December.

He averages 62.42 with the bat as captain, compared with a career average of 44.82.

Sri Lanka also had a stand-in skipper, with Thirimanne in charge again in the absence of Angelo Mathews. The regular captain was struck down by the flu in recent days and was sidelined for a third successive match.

Sri Lanka made four changes from Dunedin, all in the bowling department.

Young fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera was summoned for his ODI debut, with fellow quicks Nuwan Kulasekara and Shaminda Eranga called in, along with legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna.

Frontline spinner Rangana Herath has returned home due to a family illness.

AT A GLANCE

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan.

Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunuratne, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dushmantha Chameera.