New Zealand and Sri Lanka have been playing each other for long enough now for familiarity to spill over into serious rivalry. While the Tests went completely Sri Lanka's way, Kiwis got their own back in the Twenty20s. All that remains is a result in the 50-over format, and the first indication will come on Tuesday.
In Colombo, even as New Zealand sweated it out at the R Premadasa Stadium, the two captains were addressing a press conference a few kilometres away and much of the talk centered around two veterans. Muttiah Muralitharan, recovering from a groin injury, is keen to play and Kumar Sangakkara did his utmost to suggest that the offie would recover in time.
Jayasuriya has been through a serious dip in form, with questions being asked about his very place in the team. Once again Sangakkara kept the faith, even suggesting that he might open the batting with Jayasuriya, breaking up the successful pair of Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
For New Zealand, the batting has struggled for consistency, while the bowlers have slowly come into their own in these conditions. These two teams open the tournament, and the first aim will be to show that this series isn't all about India.
ON THE TUBE: Ten Sports, 2:30 pm