New Zealand aim to wrap up series
Start time 2.15pm (03.15 GMT)
The Big PictureIt would be easy, in the patronising Australian way, to say New Zealand are on the verge of their biggest triumph over their Trans-Tasman brothers for years. It would be wrong. The last time New Zealand were 2-0 up in the Chappell-Hadlee Series was in 2007 and they quickly wrapped up the series even though Matthew Hayden blasted 181.
That was also when Australia lost five in a row and on that occasion they then went through the World Cup undefeated. Given the current situation it feels like a decade ago and this rut will be much harder to escape from. While a victory is important to keep Australia in the five-game contest, it is also necessary to avoid matching the country's worst ODI losing streak of six, which came in 1996 when Mark Taylor was in charge.
New Zealand, who won by six wickets in Melbourne on Friday, don't care about the damage being done to Australia and will aim to regain the trophy after being swept aside in 2007-08. Even though the hosts are in a desperate situation, a series success would be an incredible achievement for Daniel Vettori's rebuilding outfit.
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Team newsRicky Ponting is back after his two-match rest was halved and the captain will provide some spark to the troubled order. Australia will wait until shortly before the game to finalise their side, but David Warner's position is vulnerable following some subdued performances. It would not be a surprise if Brad Haddin moved to open along with Michael Clarke, who did the job well on Friday. Clarke is expected to be fit after an Iain O'Brien yorker struck his left foot in Melbourne, and his bowling will be needed as there is no specialist spinner in the 13-man squad. Shaun Tait has left the squad due to a reoccurrence of a hamstring injury and been replaced by Ryan Harris.
Australia (possible) 1 Michael Clarke, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting, 4 David Hussey, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Callum Ferguson, 8 James Hopes, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Nathan Bracken, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus.
New Zealand have no reason to change unless Brendon McCullum's hip injury, which he sustained in the first week of the tour, continues to nag, but they will be reluctant to lose one of their most senior men. Gareth Hopkins, the standby wicketkeeper, played in Auckland's Twenty20 win on Friday and will wait for a call. Jeetan Patel and Vettori have worked well during the opening two matches and will look forward to assistance from the Sydney surface.
New Zealand (possible) 1 Brendon McCullum (wk), 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Peter Fulton, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Neil Broom, 7 Kyle Mills, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Tim Southee, 10 Jeetan Patel, 11 Iain O'Brien.
Watch out for ...Mitchell Johnson has had an exhausting summer but must lift if Australia are to avoid the embarrassment of a series defeat with two matches still remaining. While nobody has worked harder for the team this season, Johnson has to step up when the side needs him most if he wants to be the long-term leader. In five matches since his return from a rest he has four wickets at 69.75 and an economy rate of 5.69.
Australia have been happy to see Daniel Vettori off as he has given up 57 runs in 20 overs over the past week. However, this will be even harder in Sydney, where Vettori can look forward to more turn. In a sudden death match the home batsmen will not have the luxury of waiting for Vettori's spell to finish, so he should have more opportunities for success.
Pitch & conditionsIn the west of Sydney the temperatures are expected to reach 44C, but fortunately for the players and spectators the SCG is much closer to the water, and it should be ten degrees cooler. However, Stuart Karppinen, Australia's strength and conditioning coach, will feed the players slurpies from his frozen drink machine before the game, cooling them from the inside out. It was something the country's Olympic athletes did to counter the heat in Beijing.
Stats and trivia
- Australia will drop to fourth in the ODI rankings with two more losses in this series
- New Zealand have outscored Australia in the batting Powerplay, taking 71 runs over the first two games to Australia's 56. Australia are slightly ahead during the bowling Powerplay with 28 to the tourists' 22
- In 20 ODIs between the teams at the SCG, Australia have won 12 and New Zealand six
Quotes"I still look at the Australian side with a lot of awe. I've played against them a lot and lost a lot of games against them. I know they're a team that will bounce back."
"I think we've got a great squad, we just need to produce it out on the park."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo