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November 22, 2011
Chris Martin, the New Zealand fast bowler, has said that Australia's underwhelming recent form in Tests gives his team a chance to exert pressure on a side under intense scrutiny at home.
"I think it opens up a few windows for us," Martin said in Brisbane. "It makes us even more determined to come up with the right attitude and realise that it is a good opportunity to put pressure on a team that has probably under-performed in the last 12 months or so."
Australia have won just one of their five most recent Test series, after the 2-0 win over New Zealand in March 2010. They lost the Ashes at home to England earlier this year after having been beaten in both Tests on their tour of India. The solitary win came against the struggling Sri Lankans, while there were drawn scorelines against Pakistan and South Africa.
Several Australia players have come under fire for their poor form of late, but Martin said that was not something which New Zealand were focusing on. "It's not something we have looked at. I know there is always a lot of pressure on an Australian side. They'll always find the reasons and the culprits. It's nothing to do with us. We just have to focus on our own games."
New Zealand have struggled in Australia over the years, with their lone series win coming far back in 1985. They have lost 0-2 on their previous two visits across the Tasman, and despite Australia's troubles, will start as underdogs. Martin did not think that would relieve the pressure on the visitors though.
"Not really. I think the pressure comes from expectations within the side and they are pretty high. Most of the time you are trying to impress your team-mates and trying to show that you deserve to be out there and playing well. If everyone has that attitude it means that the team is going to play well and that is what you need, a team performance against Australia.
"Our cricketing public has had to put up with quite a bit from us over the years. To play well against Australia here has been a long time coming and hopefully we can put that together and make the public happy back home."
Martin felt that there was a strong understanding in the New Zealand squad of what it takes to play at the top level. "It's a relatively new team. I think we've only been together a month now. New coaches, new management. It's hard to get a gauge on confidence but I know that there is a good attitude within this side."
After having played in New Zealand's previous Test on a flat wicket against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, Martin was looking forward to bowl in the first Test in Brisbane. "The Gabba has always produced reasonable bounce and as a quick bowler you always require that to get wickets. Last time we played here, I think there was a lot of rain heading into the preparation of the pitch, so it did quite a bit. But I can't imagine there is going to be a lot going on with it this time."
The Brisbane Test begins on December 1 followed by the second Test in Hobart on December 9.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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