Blackcaps vs India: New Zealand looks forward after dominant Sri Lanka series

The Blackcaps will head into their next series against India full of confidence, as Sri Lanka end their five-and-a-half week tour of New Zealand winless.

On Friday they ended the tour with a 35-run defeat in the one-off Twenty20 match in Auckland, adding to the three one day international losses and the failure in the second test, their only half-decent result being the drawn first test in Wellington.

Stand-in captain Tim Southee was pleased to end the Sri Lankan series on a strong note, but he knows the Blackcaps must lift their game to a new level against India for the five-game ODI series, followed by three T20s. 

The ODI series is the big focus for the Blackcaps, with the World Cup fast approaching -  New Zealand's first game against Sri Lanka takes place on June 1. They will also play India 12 days later who is one spot higher in the world rankings than New Zealand in second. 

"Sri Lanka have shown glimpses on this tour, they've played some entertaining cricket, but we know we're going to have to go up another level against a top-class Indian side," said Southee. 

"We'll get a sneak peek at their three ODIs over the next week or so in Australia, but we know we're going to have to be at the top of our game to tackle one of the top ODI teams in the world."

Blackcaps paceman Lockie Ferguson said he can't wait to face India in New Zealand. 

"They're going to be quite high with confidence," Ferguson began.

"We're confident with our own conditions and the way we've been playing cricket and sticking to what we're doing well.

"They're definitely going to be challenging, there's no doubt about that, but we'll do the hard work, and as we did last night, we'll keep believing we can win the games, and hopefully we can get across the line."

One person who will likely get a chance to face India is Doug Bracewell after his man-of-the-match performance in the T20 win.

Doug Braecwell.
Doug Braecwell. Photo credit: Photosport

With New Zealand struggling at 55/5, Bracewell came to the crease and blasted a match-high 44 runs, hitting five sixes as the Blackcaps finished their 20 overs on 179/7.

Bracewell then took a wicket and a couple of catches as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 144.

The match was the 28-year-old's first T20 in just over a year, and while he hasn't played an ODI since December 2017, Southee praised Bracewell for patiently waiting for an opportunity.

"Doug has experience at this level, and it is not easy when you have sat out to come in and play the way he did and ply his natural way. It is a testament to the way he plays cricket.

"It was a great win from the position we were in after 10 overs with the bat. The way the guys were able to go out and still put a good score on the board."

"We managed to get to a pretty good score but we knew we'd have to bowl well and we were fortunate enough to keep taking wickets. Each guy that came on did their job with a tight over or getting a breakthrough."


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