Cricket: Boxing Day wicket set to favour ball over bat in series decider

While the first Test in Wellington provided little for the bowlers the Boxing Day clash between the Blackcaps and Sri Lanka is set to be a different story.

Winning the toss and unleashing the seamers is the key for both sides in the series decider at Hagley Oval.

Tom Latham had no problems opening the batting at the Basin, scoring an unbeaten 264 but he could be in the firing line early on Boxing Day morning.

"One of the most important things is eliminate what happened last week and focus on what I do well," Latham said on Monday.

And it's not just the batsmen being challenged in Christchurch - the grounds staff have been preparing a pitch while being hit with four times December's usual rainfall.

Head curator Rupert Bool said it's been a real challenge.

"It certainly hasn't been ideal with the amount of rain, unseasonal in Christchurch and we are ready preparation wise -hopefully the weather plays ball for the match."

The sun was out on Tuesday but Rupert Bool expects the wicket to remain a little juicy.

"With the weather around, hopefully there's a little bit in it. There's a bit of grass cover. Typical Hagley deck," Bool said.

In all five tests at Hagley Oval the team that has won the toss has chosen to bowl.

It's seen three wins for the Blackcaps, with the Sri Lankans wary of the surface's bounce and carry.

"Everyone's working hard - we want to be at our A game and we know it won't be easy like Wellington," said wicket keeper Niroshan Dickwella.

Blackcaps batting coach Craig McMillan thinks the damage will be done on the first two hours.

"Quite often that first session is crucial especially if the sun is out, and there's some wind and it can be a good batting track later in the day," he said.

Getting off to a fast start is likely to play a big part in the outcome at Hagley Oval with the series is at stake.


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