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February 20, 2010
Shane Bond, back in the New Zealand squad for the one-dayers and Twenty20s against Australia starting next week, believes the hosts can seriously push their trans-Tasman rivals. Australia have not lost a game all home summer but Bond was confident New Zealand could change that.
"I reckon we can give the Aussies their biggest test of the summer so far," Bond said. "It's been pretty one-sided for them so far against Pakistan and the West Indies but with our side we can take them if we play our best cricket."
Australia are among Bond's favourite opponents, particularly in the one-day format where he has 35 wickets at 14.45 in 12 matches against them, including five four-wicket hauls. Bond has not exactly burnt up the domestic one-day circuit this season but he was confident of his pace and attacking instincts ahead of the series that begins with a Twenty20 in Wellington on Friday.
He was also quick to dismiss notions of a contest with Shaun Tait, who recently his 160.7kph on his return to Australia's Twenty20 side. "I'm about three cogs below Taity now so that would be a complete waste of time trying to beat him," said Bond. "Good on him. I'll hopefully work up some pace when the adrenaline kicks in but I won't be up around those speeds."
Bond's coach at Canterbury, Bob Carter, felt the fast bowler was ready for action against Australia despite returning average returns in the domestic one-day competition after an abdominal tear during the home series against Pakistan last year. "He's been bowling fairly quickly and trying to knock over batters," Carter said. "Against Wellington they took to him and Tommy [Chris Martin] and, to be fair, the lad [Stewart] Rhodes teed off against him on a flat wicket and came off.
"But he's still in good form. He's come back well in his later spells and he's recovered well from his injury. We've had a couple of chats and there are no issues. He's bowled twice this week at our training and he is not down on pace. He looks good."
Bond has retired from Test cricket and will only feature in the limited-overs leg of Australia's tour.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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