Prasanna Jayawardene can guide Sri Lanka's young and restless

EXPERIENCE: Sri Lankan wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
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EXPERIENCE: Sri Lankan wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.

The bulk of the Sri Lanka test squad are young and inexperienced but the side's longest serving player believes they're more than capable of competing with New Zealand.

Speaking to Stuff.co.nz ahead of the first test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Boxing Day, wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene said his side had the ammo to compete with New Zealand and were well prepared.

Jayawardene debuted for Sri Lanka even before run-scoring machine Kumar Sangakkara, a wicketkeeper as well.

When Sangakkara came along, however, Jayawardene's opportunities dried up until the selectors took the gloves off Sangakkara to allow him to focus on batting.

Jayawardene has played 56 tests, the third most in the current squad behind Sangakkara (128) and Rangana Herath (57), who will not play the first test.

Of the 16 players in the Sri Lanka squad, 11 have played fewer than 20 tests.

There is a silver lining for Sri Lanka's lack of experience.

"Our young players are inexperienced but they're all talented and will adapt to the conditions well," Jayawardene said.

"The New Zealand players will not know our players very well and that could help us.

"Our young players are all very good and they've scored runs and taken wickets in domestic cricket too. They'll be up for the challenge."

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How both the Sri Lanka batsmen and bowlers adapt to the change in foreign conditions will be key, especially for the first test.

"But we did well in England and the conditions are similar to here," Jayawardene said. "We also had a two-day game in Queenstown. It will be important for the batsmen to do their job but the bowlers need to get used to the conditions quickly too. They will. Apart from Nuwan Kulasekara, the bowling group is the same as we had in England and we won that series."

 - The Press

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