New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington March 18, 2010

Australia's chance to extend winning run

Australia haven't lost a Test to New Zealand in the last 17 years, and they have an opportunity to further extend that sequence at the Basin Reserve

New Zealand won a couple of matches against their neighbours in the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series, but they'll be far more hard-pressed to notch up a win in the two-Test series, which starts in Wellington on Friday. New Zealand have won only seven of 48 Tests against Australia, and even though their overall record at home is better - five wins in 22 - their recent stats are anything but impressive: since 2000 they haven't won a single Test in 13, losing nine. In fact, you'd have to go much further back for the last instance when Australia lost to them: it happened in Auckland in March 1993, an era when Allan Border led the team, and Craig McDermott and Merv Hughes shared the new ball for them. In 19 Tests since then Australia have won 13, including five out of six in New Zealand.

During this period of utter domination, Australia have played only two Tests in Wellington. They won by six wickets in 2000, and drew in 2005. Five out of eight Tests between these two teams at the Basin Reserve have been drawn, but over the last few years this venue has been result oriented, with only four out of 15 Tests since 2000 being drawn.

Tests between New Zealand and Australia
  Tests NZ won Aus won Drawn
Overall 48 7 24 17
In New Zealand 22 5 10 7
Since 2000 13 0 9 4
Since 2000, in New Zealand 6 0 5 1
In Wellington 8 1 2 5

New Zealand's biggest worry is their inexperienced batting line-up. Of their main batsmen and allrounders, only four have played Tests against Australia, and two of them have struggled: Brendon McCullum has scored only one half-century in 13 innings against them and averages 22.50, but even that's much better than the numbers for Mathew Sinclair, who averages 14.13 from 15 innings.

New Zealand batsmen in Tests against Australia
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Ross Taylor 2 160 40.00 0/ 1
Daniel Vettori 15 443 23.31 0/ 2
Brendon McCullum 7 270 22.50 0/ 1
Mathew Sinclair 8 212 14.13 0/ 1

Sinclair has done much better in Wellington, but even here his stats are uneven. Out of his 497 runs in 13 innings at this ground, 214 came in one innings, on his debut against West Indies. Since then, in 12 innings he has managed one half-century.

The batsman who has consistently played well here is Ross Taylor, with a lowest score of 30 in six innings. His scores here read: 53, 55, 42, 107, 30 and 97. Martin Guptill and Tim McIntosh have struggled, though, with McIntosh scoring 42 runs in four innings.

New Zealand batsmen at the Basin Reserve
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Ross Taylor 3 384 64.00 1/ 3
Mathew Sinclair 8 497 41.41 1/ 1
Daniel Vettori 18 574 26.09 0/ 4
Brendon McCullum 9 348 24.85 0/ 2
Martin Guptill 2 81 20.25 0/ 0
Tim McIntosh 2 42 10.50 0/ 0

Among the Australian batsmen, Ricky Ponting has enjoyed playing in New Zealand, averaging almost 98, but Michael Clarke, who is back in the country after sorting his personal problems, hasn't enjoyed it much here, with a highest score of 22 in three innings..

Meanwhile, New Zealand's bowlers haven't had much success against Australia either, which isn't surprising considering the number of Tests they've lost. Vettori heads the way with 56 wickets in 15 Tests, but for Chris Martin Australia have been a monster opponent: in eight Tests against them he has taken 14 wickets, and in three home Tests against them he has two. Daryl Tuffey hasn't taken any wickets in two Tests against Australia.

New Zealand bowlers against Australia
Bowler Tests Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Daniel Vettori 15 56 33.98 6/ 1
Tim Southee 2 5 45.00 0/ 0
Chris Martin 8 14 74.14 1/ 0
Daryl Tuffey 2 0 - 0/ 0

The New Zealand fast bowlers have done much better at the Basin Reserve, which suggests the team will play only one spinner for the first Test. Martin has taken 51 wickets in 11 Tests here, while Tuffey averages less than 26. Vettori, on the other hand, averages almost 40 here, with only 50 wickets in 18 matches.

New Zealand bowlers in Wellington
Bowler Tests Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Daryl Tuffey 3 10 25.60 0/ 0
Chris Martin 11 51 26.31 4/ 0
Daniel Vettori 18 50 39.06 1/ 1
Tim Southee 1 2 76.00 0/ 0

And if further proof was required to dissuade the notion of playing two spinners, the table below provides it: in the last ten Tests at this ground fast bowlers have taken far more wickets at a better average than the spinners.

Pace and spin at Basin Reserve since 2003
  Wickets Average Strike rate 5WI/ 10WM
Pace 262 27.40 52.0 14/ 1
Spin 64 34.29 73.7 2/ 2

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo