New Zealand stand in the way of Sri Lanka’s World Test final.

New Zealand stand in the way of Sri Lanka's World Test final.

New Zealand will look to build on their dramatic one-run win against Sri Lanka in the first Test against England this week, with a 2-0 series sweep to reach the final of the ICC World Test Championship. .

Tim Southee’s hosts became only the fourth team to win a Test after following on from a two-match series draw against England.

Kane Williamson, who became New Zealand’s record run-scorer in the sensational win in Wellington, said the Black Caps’ seven-Test winless run was vital to move forward.

“It’s been a while since we crossed the line,” former captain Williamson said ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Thursday.

“We didn’t get the results we would have liked despite the work we put in, so it’s nice to get the rewards.

“This is an important series for us now because we are trying to improve and we are focusing on trying to put in better performances.”

Sri Lanka have won only two of the 19 Tests they have played in New Zealand.

But captain Dimuth Karunaratne’s team has got extra motivation this time.

They can reach the WTC final with a 2-0 series victory over Australia, provided India fail to beat Australia in the final Test in Ahmedabad, which also begins on Thursday.

Sri Lanka are a better and more consistent team under the leadership of Chris Silverwood, who took over as head coach in April last year.

They beat Bangladesh 1-0 and drew 1-1 at home with both Australia and Pakistan, all in the two-Test series, since the appointment of the former England fast bowler.

Their hopes of qualifying for the showpiece at The Oval in June were boosted when Australia secured their place by winning the third Test against India in the space of three days in Indore last week.

“Going to the WTC final would be incredible,” Silverwood said.

“But at the same time we know we have a very good New Zealand team in front of us and we have to respect that, work hard, and try and get it right.”

New Zealand retained the squad that defeated England in Wellington while Sri Lanka included two uncapped players, 23-year-old batsman Nishan Madushka and 26-year-old seamer Milan Rathnayake.

Madushka made it to the Test squad a few weeks ago after scoring two centuries and a double century in three matches against the touring England Lions.

Sri Lanka’s preparations have been disrupted by rain, ending the second day of their only warm-up match against the New Zealand Board XI in Lincoln, just outside Christchurch on Sunday.

After the Test, Sri Lanka will also play three ODIs and three T20Is against New Zealand.

New Zealand: Tim Southee (captain), Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Dion Conway, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Scott Cuglijon, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson, Will Young

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Oshada Fernando, Kosal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Kamindu Mendis, Nirshan Dickwella, Nishan Madushka, Ramesh Mendis, Parbat Jayasuriya, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasan Rajita Kumarana, Lava Rajita, Lava , Lawal, 2018 Fernando, Milan Rathnayake


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