Mount Maunganui, Jan 3 (AP/UNB) — New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat Thursday in the first of three one-day cricket internationals against Sri Lanka.
Both teams are beginning in earnest their build-up to the ICC World Cup in England later this year. New Zealand has 12 one-day internationals during its domestic season to help its preparation.
Former World Cup champions Sri Lanka have dropped to eighth on world rankings and are hoping to recover some of their old form in the 50-over game.
"We haven't been consistent," captain Lasith Malinga said. "Now is the time to improve and go ahead and do our best for the team."
The pitch at the Bay Oval had a light covering of grass but still looked to be good for batting.
New Zealand named wicketkeeper Tim Seifert to make his ODI debut in place of Tom Latham who is being rested. Opener Martin Guptill returns to the lineup after an absence of more than a year with injury.
Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson join Trent Boult as New Zealand's seamers while Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell sit out the first match of the series.
Sri Lanka retained batsmen Danushka Gunathilaka and Dinesh Chandimal from its test lineup and favored seamer Nuwan Pradeep over Dushmantha Chameera.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tim Seifert, James Neesham, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson.
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chanimal, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Seekuge Prasanna, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Malinga (captain).
Umpires: Chris Brown and Paul Wilson, New Zealand.
TV umpire: Richard Illingworth, England. Match referee: Richie Richardson, West Indies.