McCullum likely to miss fifth ODI


New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is still struggling with a back injury and is set to miss the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka.

McCullum, who suffered the injury in the second ODI on December 28, is recovering slower than expected.

The 34-year-old is set to be sidelined for the fifth ODI in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday as the teams complete a series, which New Zealand lead 2-1.

Tim Southee (foot) has also been ruled out, with Trent Boult set to make his return.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said they had expected McCullum's recovery to be quicker.

"He's really struggling," he told a news conference on Monday.

"[He] hasn't progressed as well as we would've thought so he's probably unlikely tomorrow."

The hosts cannot lose the series after rain washed out the fourth ODI in Nelson, where Sri Lanka had carried much-needed momentum.

Sri Lanka were embarrassed in the first two games but responded with an eight-wicket win on New Year's Eve.

The absences of McCullum and Southee come as a boost as they look to earn a share of the series spoils ahead of two Twenty20s.

Matt Henry, who replaced Southee in the squad for game four, has already caused the tourists problems, taking eight wickets.

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill has been the standout batsman, making 229 runs at an average of 76.33 and with a strike rate of 178.90.

He had been dismissed for 27 as New Zealand were reduced to 75-3 off nine overs in a reduced fourth ODI before the rain set in once more, leading to an abandonment.

Having taken those early wickets after winning game three, Sri Lanka carry some confidence into a clash they must win to avoid losing the series.