Tim Southee is looking forward to seam-friendly conditions in Wellington after toiling away on low and slow pitches in the United Arab Emirates.

New Zealand return to home action against Sri Lanka on Friday after securing a memorable 2-1 Test series victory over Pakistan, the Black Caps winning the decider by 123 runs.

The spinners dominated across the three games, with William Somerville and Ajaz Patel the leading wicket-takers for the tourists.

A home series against Sri Lanka offers more opportunities for the seamers, though, with Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner having had little assistance in the UAE.

"It's back to familiar conditions, and somewhere that we've played very good cricket for a number of years now," Southee told reporters.

"It's nice to come back to conditions that we're used to. We've come from a place that wasn't easy, especially for pace bowlers. There's a bit of excitement and a spring in the step for the fast bowlers anyway."

But Southee knows the bowlers may have to work hard for their rewards at Basin Reserve.

He added: "It's nice to see some grass on the wicket but we don't know what it's going to play like until we get out there. You can get in and it can be a batting paradise as well.

"We've seen in the past at the Basin, that if you can get in, it's also a very good wicket to bat on.

"I don't think the guys will get too carried away. We've come from the UAE where there's not a lot of grass on the wicket, but here also can be very good for batting. We're going to have to be on top of our game.

"I remember a couple of years ago Bangladesh scored 500-odd here. It's a strength of our side not to get carried away with conditions. We don't know what it's going to be like when we get out there. We'll try and assess the conditions as quick as we can."

Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect due to an illegal action.

Dananjaya was reported by match officials during the first Test against England in Galle last month. He was given 14 days to respond to the charge, allowing him to play in the second Test in Pallekele before missing the series finale in Colombo.

After an independent assessment held on November 23 in Brisbane, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the 25-year-old's deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted.

The ban covers all formats at international level, as well as domestic competitions outside of Sri Lanka.

"In accordance with article 11.1 of the ICC regulations for the review of bowlers reported with suspect illegal bowling actions, Dananjaya's international suspension will also be recognised and enforced by all national cricket federations for domestic cricket events played in their own jurisdiction," the ICC confirmed in a statement.

"However, according to article 11.5 of the regulations and with the consent of the Sri Lanka Cricket, Dananjaya may be able to bowl in domestic cricket events played under the auspices of the SLC."

The ICC also confirmed Dananjaya can apply for a reassessment after modifying his action in accordance with clause 4.5 of the regulations.

Ajaz Patel was the only specialist spinner named in New Zealand's 13-man squad for their two Tests against Sri Lanka.

Patel, 30, was given his chance against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and took 13 wickets at an average of 29.61 in three Tests.

The left-armer will get another opportunity for the Black Caps, who face Sri Lanka in the series opener beginning at the Basin Reserve on Saturday.

Will Young earned his maiden call-up as batting cover as New Zealand look to back up their series win over Pakistan.

"There's a real swell of support for the Test team following their efforts in the UAE, so we're hoping to transition that momentum into a big home summer," selector Gavin Larsen said in a statement on Monday.

"Ajaz certainly grabbed his opportunity on the UAE tour and he's a proven performer in New Zealand conditions.

"Will Somerville was an obvious standout on debut in the Abu Dhabi decider and it's great to know we've got quality spin bowlers who can create competition for places.

"It's an exciting time for Will Young who has been pushing for higher honours for a while now. He scored hundreds against Pakistan A and India A in recent months and fully deserves his call-up.

"The first international of the home summer is always an exciting time and the revamped Basin Reserve should be a fitting setting to launch the Sri Lankan tour."

 

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young.

Ben Stokes has laughed off Sanjay Manjrekar's claims that he is taking all the credit for the work of his England team-mates.

England defeated India 4-1 earlier in the year and then completed a historic 3-0 clean sweep in Sri Lanka, bouncing back impressively from a 4-0 Ashes drubbing and a series defeat in New Zealand - the first of which Stokes missed following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.

Stokes has played a key role since returning to the side and head coach Trevor Bayliss said the "exemplary" Durham all-rounder is "the first pick" on the team sheet in his eyes.

Yet Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs for India, appears to feel Stokes is being given too much credit, posting an analogy on Twitter that compared the 27-year-old unfavourably with "hardworking chefs" Moeen Ali, Jack Leach and Ben Foakes.

"So you have these hardworking chefs who have made a great dish," Manjrekar wrote. "Someone comes and puts a little garnish on top and he gets all the credit.

"Moeen, Leach, Foakes are those poor chefs and Stokes the one with the garnish."

But Stokes was swift to respond, replying with a snoring emoji: "We don't care about personal credit - and garnish is pointless on all food anyway. We care about winning.

"It's a team sport and we won as a team. 3-0. Cheers Sanjay."

Stokes is due to face a disciplinary hearing with the England and Wales Cricket Board next month, despite having been acquitted of an affray charge in court in August.

Trevor Bayliss says Ben Foakes' performances in Sri Lanka will see him keep the gloves ahead of Jonny Bairstow but insists competition for places can only be a good thing for England.

Bairstow missed the first Test due to an ankle injury suffered while playing football in training and was kept out of the side for the second by Foakes' brilliant debut display in Galle.

The Surrey man made the most of his chance with a century and his final tally of 277 runs was the most of any batsman in the series, while he won plaudits for his work behind the stumps.

Bairstow has made little secret of his desire to regain his spot as wicketkeeper and responded with a hundred after returning to the team to bat at three in the final match in Colombo, where he won the Man of the Match prize.

Head coach Bayliss is happy with the depth at England's disposal but added that Foakes – who was named Man of the Series – has the gloves for now.

"We don't want it to put any undue pressure on other people. It does keep the guys in the team in some of those positions on their toes," he told Sky Sports.

"In the long run for England, that's a good thing, when you've got competition for places and you've got depth. Even Jos Buttler wants to keep.

"The way Foakes has gone in this series, he'll definitely be there for the next one.

"Jonny, every time a challenge has been thrown to him, has been able to come out and score some runs. Our challenge is to find a challenge every time he comes out to bat!"

The series was the first since 2006 without former captain Alastair Cook, who retired from Test cricket in September.

Rory Burns was chosen to open with Keaton Jennings and, while England may have secured the whitewash, Bayliss says neither player has nailed down their spots.

"I don't think so. Statistics will tell a story there," he added.

"They're both still young in the Test game. Their character has been exceptional at times but, for everyone in the [team], making runs and taking wickets are what counts."

Joe Root says everyone in the England team "stepped up" during the 3-0 Test-series whitewash in Sri Lanka.

The tourists completed a 42-run victory in Colombo on Monday to seal their first ever sweep in Sri Lanka, Jack Leach breaking a century sixth-wicket stand between Kusal Mendis and Roshen Silva with a brilliant run out to end the hosts' brief hopes of a revival.

Before the trip, England had not won an away series since the 2015-16 tour of South Africa and Root, who had overseen defeats in Australia and New Zealand in his previous two tours as captain, hailed the collective team effort in getting that monkey off their back.

"I'm proud of everyone, it's been a brilliant tour and a real team effort," he said at the post-match presentation. 

"We knew we were capable but to perform as consistently as we have shows a real learning in the squad.

"A big secret of our success has been being able to pick a team to take 20 wickets and score enough runs on every ground.

"You're only as good as your team, the guys have stepped up, either passing it on to the young guys or coming in themselves. It's been a complete team effort."

England toiled throughout the morning, taking just one wicket before Leach's run out of Kusal turned the momentum back in their favour.

"I was just trying to get my body going again, as I was keen to get that new ball in my hand," Leach told Sky Sports.

"I'd love to say I've been working on them [run outs]. It was a big moment, I saw it going towards the stumps and thought, 'that's going to hit.'"

Sri Lanka captain Suranga Lakmal thought that small margins determined the result of the match.

"I expected a strong, tough game," he said. "It was the small things that went wrong. In the future we hope to rectify that. Everybody did their best."

England completed a first ever Test clean sweep in Sri Lanka with a 42-run victory on day four in Colombo on Monday.

The tourists had set a daunting target of 327 and taken four wickets a day earlier to leave Sri Lanka a monumental challenge to avoid a 3-0 defeat.

Kusal Mendis (86) and Roshen Silva (65) put on a fine century stand to briefly revive the hosts' hopes only for the former to be run out when Jack Leach produced a brilliant direct hit to turn the tide.

Leach (4-72) was also one of the chief protagonists with the ball, breaking the 10th-wicket stand of 58 between Malinda Pushpakumara and Suranga Lakmal to win the game, as England - who had already completed a first win in Sri Lanka since 2001 - earned just a third series sweep away from home.

It took little time for Leach to take care of nightwatchman Lakshan Sandakan (7), but that was England's only breakthrough in a morning session in which Kusal and Roshen showed stoic resistance.

Kusal had failed to go past fifty in his previous 11 Test innings, but showed his expertise against spin with any errors in length being clattered away – a huge six off Moeen Ali (4-92) against just his fourth delivery of the day a particular highlight.

He kept the tempo ticking through to lunch and for the majority of the first hour after the restart but, having narrowly escaped the previous over, a questionable call from Roshen to go for two left Kusal stranded after a fine direct hit from Leach running in from deep backward square.

Leach then had Niroshan Dickwella (19) tickle one into the safe hands of Keaton Jennings at backward short leg, and the same man had a sixth catch of the match when Dilruwan Perera (5) was caught playing off the back foot to Moeen.

Moeen ended Roshen's gritty resistance via a successful review for lbw, before Pushpakumara (42 not out) and Lakmal (11) frustrated England through to tea - the former delivering some lusty blows in an entertaining 40-ball knock.

But Leach brought the match to an end by trapping Lakmal, a review showing the ball would have clipped leg stump, to start the England celebrations.

England's Jos Buttler revealed an adaptation to his batting approach that fuelled a revival on day three of the third Test with Sri Lanka was inspired by watching Michael Clarke.

Buttler came to the crease with England 39-4 in the second innings but spearheaded a turnaround that saw them bowled out for 230 and build a lead of 326, with Sri Lanka slumping to 53-4 in their run chase.

He took to attacking Sri Lanka's spin and using his feet more to score 64 off 79 balls before paying the price for his aggression as he was stumped.

However, Buttler said he was at ease with his dismissal as he adopted an approach straight from the Clarke school of batting.

"We were trying to wrestle back momentum," Buttler told Sky Sports. "The new ball seems to be a tricky place to bat against spin – some were skidding on, some were spinning.

"We've talked about trying to play in a brave way and looking to score. It felt like being busy and getting them off their lengths was the best way to go, and trying to get a partnership going, which we managed with me and Ben [Stokes].

"In Kandy, we were watching one of those cricket classics and Michael Clarke was batting, and Jimmy [Anderson] said: 'God, he was using his feet nearly every ball and Swanny couldn't bowl at him'. I thought that seems like a good way to go, I'll try a bit of that.

"Sometimes you feel confident with a certain way of playing and actually using my feet felt like the way to go, especially with the offspin and the angles from around the wicket. Sweeping had a risk of lbw and I tried to take that out of the game by getting as far out as I could.

"It's a little bit about the mantra that's being preached [in the dressing room]. 'Positive' is a word that's been used a lot, but It doesn't just mean fours and sixes and aggressive shots, it can mean positive footwork, positive running, singles and that sort of stuff.

"For myself I look to play that way. Making peace with the way that I can get out makes it a lot clearer for me. It makes me commit to a gameplan more, rather than second-guessing 'shall I run or shall I not?'

"I might get out, but you could get out any ball doing anything. If I stick to my gameplan and get out, I'm more at ease with that than if I veered away from it."

Jos Buttler made a classy 64 and Sri Lanka lost four late wickets as England closed in on a 3-0 Test-series sweep at the end of day three in Colombo.

The hosts had made the fast start they needed after being bowled out for 240 on Saturday as Dilruwan Perera (5-88), who became the quickest bowler to take 100 Test wickets in Sri Lanka, tore through the top order to leave England reeling at 39-4.

The typically aggressive Buttler led the recovery and his fifth-wicket stand of 89 with Ben Stokes (42) put the brakes on Sri Lanka's revival, while a couple of costly no-balls from Lakshan Sandakan hindered the home side and left captain Suranga Lakmal with his head in his hands.

After England were bowled for 230 to set a victory target of 327, Moeen Ali claimed Danushka Gunathilaka and the crucial wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne either side of Jack Leach snaring Dhananjaya de Silva.

Stuart Broad then took a fine catch as Angelo Mathews fell into Stokes' trap to leave Sri Lanka 53-4 and facing a monumental task to avoid a whitewash.

The scratchy batting that has characterised previous England tours of Asia reared its ugly head in a tumultuous opening 70 minutes that yielded just one boundary from Jonny Bairstow.

Dilruwan skidded one through that trapped Keaton Jennings (1) with the first ball of the day, with Rory Burns (7) soon following in similar circumstances and Bairstow (15) became the spinner's third victim via a sharp take at short-leg from substitute fielder Kaushal Silva.

Joe Root (7) then punched one back to left-armer Malinda Pushpakumara as England threatened to unravel.

Things would have been worse had Sandakan not overstepped when Stokes, on 22, drove to extra cover and the the all-rounder survived again off the same man after edging to slip when on 32 thanks to another no-ball.

When Niroshan Dickwella failed to hold an edge off Buttler, who had already overturned an lbw review, the tide had truly turned in England's favour.

Buttler deserved huge credit for making it so, coming down the track to disrupt the spinners and scoring at just under a run-a-ball, including three boundaries in the space of four deliveries from the luckless Sandakan.

The stand with Stokes was ended when the all-rounder hoicked one to long-on before Buttler was stumped as Sandakan gained a measure of revenge.

Moeen (22) and Adil Rashid (24) added valuable knocks, before Ben Foakes made a patient 36 off 82 until Leach (0) became Dilruwan's landmark wicket to end the innings.

The final hour proved just as fruitful as Gunathilaka (6) prodded to slip off Moeen, who cleaned up Karunaratne (23) with a beauty after Leach trapped Dhananjaya (0) lbw, and a fine day was capped as Broad expertly ran in from midwicket to snaffle Mathews (5) just above the ground.

Adil Rashid sparked a dramatic Sri Lanka collapse and claimed career-best figures on day two of the third Test to leave England scenting a whitewash in Colombo.

A second-wicket stand of 142 between Dimuth Karunaratne (83) and Dhananjaya de Silva (73) put Sri Lanka on course for a first-innings lead after England were bowled out for 336 on Saturday.

Joe Root dropped Karunaratne and Dhananjaya on two and 42 respectively, so the captain must have been a relieved man after Sri Lanka capitulated from 173-1 to 240 all out.

Rashid (5-49) generated sharp turn to claim a second five-wicket Test haul thanks in no small part to Keaton Jennings, who took four catches at short leg - two of which were out of the top drawer.

Ben Stokes took 3-30 in a hostile spell as Sri Lanka folded in the final session and England were three without loss at stumps, leading by 99 and strong favourites to secure a 3-0 win.

The tourists added just 24 runs after resuming on 312-7, Moeen Ali falling for 33 and Lakshan Sandakan (5-95) completing a five-wicket haul with Rashid left unbeaten on 21.

Recalled paceman Stuart Broad was denied an early wicket when Root failed to snaffle a chance in the slips, Karunaratne breathing a sigh of relief as the ball ran away for four.

A moment of brilliance from Jennings gave Jack Leach a breakthrough, the opening batsman moving himself into the line of Danushka Gunathilaka's shot and somehow holding on under the helmet.

The positive Dhananjaya struck Leach for back-to-back boundaries when the spinner dropped strayed in line and length, Sri Lanka taking lunch on 74-1.

Dhananjaya was given a life when a juggling Root put him down to leave Broad frustrated again and the partnership passed the 100 mark when he swept Moeen to the boundary.

Karunaratne and Dhananjaya looked increasingly comfortable after bringing up their half-centuries, the number three finding the ropes eight times before Jennings took a more straightforward catch to finally end a long stand.

Rashid and Jennings combined again to see the back of Karunaratne just after tea and Stokes was rewarded for an excellent spell when Ben Foakes took a fine catch to remove the dangerous Angelo Mathews.

The procession of wickets continued, with Jennings showing lightning fast reactions to pluck a one-handed catch to dismiss Roshen Silva before Niroshan Dickwella was strangled down the leg side off Stokes. 

Foakes was treated for a finger injury but remained behind the stumps as Sri Lanka fell to pieces, Kusal Mendis edging Rashid to Stokes at first slip.

Rashid could do no wrong, running out Sandakan with a direct hit and trapping Malinda Pushpakumara leg before after Stokes struck again, with Jennings and Rory Burns seeing off four overs in what could be a decisive final session.

Jonny Bairstow took a swipe at his critics and outlined his determination to resume wicketkeeping duties after making a magnificent century on his return to the England Test side.

Jonny Bairstow made a brilliant sixth Test century on his return to the England side but Lakshan Sandakan took four wickets as Sri Lanka fought back on day one in Colombo.

Bairstow was overlooked for the second match of the series after being ruled out of the opener due to an ankle injury, but grasped his opportunity at number three on Friday.

The 29-year-old played with the sort of fluency and assurance the tourists have been lacking at such a troublesome spot in the order, crafting a composed 110 before England closed on 312-7 as they eye a 3-0 whitewash.

Bairstow put on 100 with Joe Root (46) for the third wicket and added 99 with Ben Stokes (57) for the fourth in good batting conditions.

Sandakan took 4-91 on a largely frustrating day for Sri Lanka, who paid the price for using up their reviews early on when Stokes should have gone leg before without scoring.

England lost both openers cheaply after Root won yet another toss, Rory Burns bowled attempting to cut Dilruwan Perera and Keaton Jennings caught by Roshen Silva at short leg off Malinda Pushpakumara.

Bairstow and Root steadied the ship, the Yorkshire duo playing the sweep with authority and latching onto anything short as they took the score on to 102-2 at lunch.

Captain Root – a centurion in the second Test – was not at his eye-catching best and threw his wicket away when he top-edged to Danushka Gunathilaka slog-sweeping Sandakan.

A sweep brought up a 76-ball half-century for Bairstow and Sri Lanka were left to rue a lack of reviews when Stokes was rapped on the pads in front by Dilruwan, umpire Chris Gaffney keeping his finger down when the ball would have struck middle stump.

Stokes looked uncertain at the start of his innings, but the runs start to flow for the all-rounder, who reverse-swept Sandakan for four and launched Dilruwan for a straight six.

Bairstow continued to tick along nicely and was unruffled when Sri Lanka thought he had been strangled caught behind down the leg side by Dilruwan.

Fine footwork allowed Stokes to superbly dispatch Dilruwan over the ropes for a second time before reaching his half-century from 78 balls and Bairstow swept the spinner for a couple to move into the 90s after England took tea on 197-3.

A dog stopped play with Bairstow on 98, but he was soon barking out a huge roar to celebrate reaching three figures with another sweep.

Sandakan ended a long stand when Stokes edged a sharply turning delivery to Dhananjaya de Silva at first slip and the same bowler cleaned up Bairstow soon after he should have been given lbw.

Moeen Ali was dropped by Niroshan Dickwella on two and put down by Dilruwan Karunaratne after the all-rounder successfully reviewed an lbw decision in the same Dilruwan over. 

Pushpakumara removed Ben Foakes late in the day and Moeen was still there on 23 at the close after overturning another leg before decision from Dilruwan with what proved to be the final ball of the day.

Stuart Broad still has an important role to play in England's Test team despite seeing his chances reduced during the tour of Sri Lanka.

With spin-friendly pitches in the subcontinent England have deployed three spinners and just one specialist seamer, with James Anderson given the nod for the opening two matches.

Broad will take his place for the final clash in Colombo this week and Root was keen to stress the 32-year-old remains a key member of their five-day squad.

"You look at the experience he can bring to the team and his record in English conditions, and what he's capable of there, and he's invaluable," Root said of Broad. 

"He's still one of England's best bowlers - I genuinely believe that - but we've had to be quite cute and smart about exploiting these conditions here and we'll have to do the same later on in the winter in the West Indies.

"I'm very aware how talented the group is and how talented our two senior guys are. We generally get very excited about wishing people into retirement and I think with those two in particular, we have to make the most of them while we can, be smart about managing and see how long they can go for.

"They both look on top of their game at the moment, if you ask me. They're both bowling fantastically well and keep looking to improve and get better. As far as I'm concerned I want to get the most out of them for as long as we can."

The third Test also sees Jonny Bairstow back in the England side and he will be the latest batsman to be tried in the troublesome number three position.

Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali have both had chances at three on this tour, and Root hopes to find a permanent resolution soon.

"We want to have that position nailed down," Root told BBC Sport. "The exciting thing is we've found ways of winning matches without that.

"Over the next few months, if that can be nailed on then we'll see another step in the right direction for this team."

Sri Lanka have drafted Danushka Gunathilaka in for Dinesh Chandimal, while Akila Dananjaya misses out as he has his biomechanics test on his action in Australia.

Lakshan Sandakan is expected to take the spinner's place in Colombo, and stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal knows his bowlers have to perform better to restrict their opponents – particularly the tail.

"We can't be making spinning pitches and keep letting their tail get runs," he said. "We have a plan to stop them.

"We gave the spinners a lot of overs at the tail in the previous games because the pitch suited them. But as a seam bowler, maybe there will be a change in this match."

Joe Root has defended the repeated tinkering of England's batting order and believes his side are "on track" to become the world's best team in Test cricket.

James Anderson will be rested for the third and final Test in Sri Lanka, with Stuart Broad taking his place in the England side.

The tourists have already wrapped up the series ahead of the concluding match in Colombo, having won the first two Tests in Galle and Pallekele.

Broad was dropped for those encounters but returns at the ground where he made his Test debut in 2007.

"I understand the reasoning behind it with the series already won," said Anderson.

"With the winter we've got ahead, it makes sense for Stuart to get some cricket. He's not played for a while and it's going to be a tough tour of the West Indies. 

"It's a good opportunity for him and the team. You have to look at the situation as well – it's hard work for seamers here and it's not like I've been able to have a huge input on the games."

The third Test begins on Friday.

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