Black Caps talk up batting progress for Sri Lanka T20 series

Black Caps batting coach Peter Fulton is delighted to see his struggling openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill finding form and believes veteran Ross Taylor can be a successful finisher in the Tweny20 series against Sri Lanka.

All three starred in New Zealand’s T20 warmup win over a Sri Lanka Board President’s XI at Katunayake on Thursday.

Munro and Guptill, so disappointing at the Cricket World Cup, struck 48 and 22 respectively to set up the New Zealand innings.

Taylor came in at No 5 and blasted an unbeaten 53 off 34 balls with four sixes to take New Zealand to 168-6 off their 20 overs.

Scott Kuggeleijn then took 4-19 and Ish Sodhi 3-43 as the Black Caps cruised to a 33-run win.

The Black Caps have now transferred to Kandy for the start of the three match T20 series that opens on Monday (1.30am NZT).

Fulton, on his first tour after replacing Craig McMillan as New Zealand’s batting coach, felt the team had got a lot out of the warmup win that came on the back of New Zealand’s dramatic second test victory to square that series.

“We obviously had a disrupted buildup for the tests so it was nice to get 20 overs in today. Most of our batsmen got a good bat and the bowlers got through some work as well so, all in all, a pretty good day,” Fulton said.

He paid tribute to the bright start by Munro and Guptill who put on 69 for the first wicket.

“In T20 cricket we know how destructive they can both be and they showed that for a while out there and we’ll be looking forward to them doing that once we get up to Kandy.”

He was delighted to see Taylor loosen his shoulders to ignite the New Zealand innings with a strike rate of 155.88.

“Ross has got a lot of power. Probably over the last few years he hasn’t shown it as much as what we know he is capable of,” Fulton said.

“There were some big sixes today and, again, (he’s) another guy who’s going to be massively important for us in this series.”

Fulton explained the different challenges for him with the switch of formats from test to T20.

“You’re  talking a lot less about technique and a lot more about mindset and aggression,” he said.

“A lot of these guys have played a lot of T20 cricket, they are pretty experienced and they don’t need to be told too much.

“They have got great records and hopefully we can get them in a confident headspace before we head into that first game.”

Fulton expected a “reasonably high scoring” wicket at Kandy.

“The batsmen are going to have to get into their work pretty quickly and hopefully get up to that 180 to 200 score.” (Courtesy stuff.co.nz)

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