New Zealand have announced their 15-man squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. The selectors have included four spinners for the tour. William Somerville and Ajaz Patel make their return to the Test squad after making their last appearance for New Zealand in the UAE. The spin duo was instrumental in helping New Zealand win their maiden Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Ajaz Patel was the standout performer for New Zealand in the three-match Test series played in the UAE. William Somerville also bowled exceedingly well and finished with seven wickets to his name in the final game of the series played at Abu Dhabi.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Mitchell Santner and leg-spinner Todd Astle are the other two spinners included in the Test squad for the series. Santner has been a regular for New Zealand in red-ball cricket and has not played any Test cricket after suffering a knee injury in December 2017.
Todd Astle has not done much since making his Test debut for New Zealand against Sri Lanka in 2012. New Zealand Head Coach Gary Stead said that, New Zealand will be looking to follow England’s mantra i.e. playing three spinners on this pitches. England completed a clean sweep over Sri Lanka played in Sri Lanka last year.
Neil Wagner, Trent Boult and Tim Southee are three front-line pace options for New Zealand for this two-match Test series. All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has been included in the squad as he provides value with bat and ball. Wicket-keeper Tom Blundell has picked as a reserve in case BJ Watling gets injured during the two-match series.
The opening game of the Test series will be played at Galle from 14th August. The second and final game of the series will be played at P. Sara Oval in Colombo on 22nd August.
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham, Will Somerville, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling