Vaas considered the 'danger man' against Black Caps
AUCKLAND (AFP) - New Zealand have called for specialist left-arm swing practice to counter the threat of Chaminda Vaas in the opening one-day cricket international against Sri Lanka here Sunday (Dec.26).

Dropped Black Cap James Franklin has been drafted back into the camp for net practice as New Zealand expects Vaas to provide Sri Lanka with some sting on what could be a seaming pitch. "We asked Jimmy to come up and bowl at the boys because they've got a couple of handy left-armers," Black Caps manager Ross Dykes said.

"It sounds as though one of them might be out, but they still have Vaas. He swings the new ball and so does Jimmy so it's just about planning ahead and it's excellent practice for the batters." Of the left-arm seam attack, Nuwan Zoysa is likely to miss the first two of the five internationals after dislocating a finger in a warm-up match, placing added focus on Vaas who has a fondness for New Zealand conditions.

"The pitches are very good for bowlers, it seams around. The key is to put the ball in the right spot and things usually happen from there," said the 30-year-old who has taken 25 wickets at 27.40 in 23 matches against New Zealand.

"I remember the 1994 tour a lot. Getting 10 wickets (10-90) in Napier, scoring my first 50 and winning, of course." Black Caps opener Nathan Astle will be expected to blunt the new ball attack of Vaas, and the veteran feels he's very close to posting some big scores this summer after tweaking his technique.

"I think I'm close to cracking a couple of things that should make me a much better player," he told the New Zealand Herald. The main points of interest were Astle's stance, head position, subsequent foot movement and his ability to play off the back foot. "I tend to become a bit anchored and I just want to get moving a bit more, so I become more of a two foot player. In their opening game, Sri Lanka's batsmen faced just 10 overs before being called off, while the second game was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Adding to the grim start was the injury to left-arm seamer Zoysa, forcing Sri Lanka's selectors to call up fast bowler Lasith Malinga as a replacement but he is unlikely to be considered for the opening game. Head to head in one-day internationals, New Zealand have won 28 matches to Sri Lanka's 24. Of the 17 matches played in New Zealand, the Black Caps have won 11.


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