x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Vettori to lead from the front

Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, hopes his new role as a selector will not affect his relationship with his teammates.

Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, hopes his new role as a selector will not affect his relationship with his teammates. The spinner was appointed to the national selection panel along with coach Andy Moles ahead of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka, which gets under way in Colombo this morning. The Black Caps will be looking to bounce back from the heavy 202-run defeat they suffered in Galle and Vettori wants the players to continue to have confidence in him.

However, Vettori's task is not an easy one as the last visiting side to win at the Sinhalese Sports Club were Australia in 2004. "I hope the players see it in an objective way," he said. "As they know me, I can be an objective person. "That I will judge them on their performances. The guys will hopefully have a lot of faith in me. "There are guys who are good friends, and one day I might have to sit them down and say that I was a part of the process that left them out.

"You have to take that responsibility on, the harsher nature of those selections. That is something I want to be prepared for if I want to have a say in the selections." Vettori's most immediate focus, though, is on levelling the series with Sri Lanka. Illness took its toll on the New Zealand team during the Galle Test, but they are likely to be at full strength today. New Zealand had their opponents 16 for two within the first half-hour on the first day of the opening Test, but the match then went away from them.

Sri Lanka's master spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is in form, with seven wickets for 88 in the first Test, as is batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan, who hit 92 and 123 not out in Galle. * With agencies