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

Trans-Tasman foes face off

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Match Facts

March 19-23, Basin Reserve, Wellington
Start time 11am (2200 GMT)

The Big Picture

Is there cricket on in Wellington this week? Anyone reading the Australian papers could easily have missed that fact in amongst the round-the-clock Michael Clarke coverage. Nobody will be happier than Clarke when the attention turns to the action on the field come Friday, when Australia begin the first of two Tests on their tour of New Zealand. It is sad that Test series between the two countries have been cut back, while five ODIs and two Twenty20s graced the schedule. But the reality is that over the past couple of decades, most Trans-Tasman Trophy series have been pretty one-sided, with the exception of the nil-all draw in Australia in 2001-02. It will take something very special from New Zealand to change that trend.

The Australians are coming off a home summer in which they won five Tests and drew one, and although the competition could have been stronger than West Indies and Pakistan, it's still a formidable form-guide. Add in the fact that New Zealand's top order is a potential house of cards and it could be a quick kill again. But with the help of Martin Crowe, the home team's batsmen have lifted their training regime in the lead-up with longer sessions designed to simulate match conditions.

It could be a career-defining series for Tim McIntosh, BJ Watling and Peter Ingram, for whom success against Australia would set them up for the foreseeable future, while failure could send them quickly back to the Plunket Shield. The team's hopes are more likely to rest on strong bowling and even without the newly-retired Shane Bond and Iain O'Brien, an attack made up of Chris Martin, Daryl Tuffey, Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori could be a challenge in their home conditions.

For Australia, the goal is obviously to retain the Trans-Tasman Trophy but in a broader sense to prepare this team for the home Ashes series in nine months. There are only two more Tests, against Pakistan in England, before the urn is up for grabs and plans and team selections will be refined. Part of that process is finding the right personnel, so there will be much interest in how Marcus North bounces back from his slump and how the new faces of Clint McKay, Ryan Harris and Steven Smith perform if selected. Contributing to a winning series would be a good start, but Vettori's men will do their best to thwart that plan.

Form guide

Australia WWWWD
New Zealand WDLWL

Watch out for...

Who else but Michael Clarke? It will be fascinating to see how he handles the pressure of stepping back in to Test cricket so soon after being hounded by the media over his private life. It is not the first time he has stayed home due to personal reasons. On the 2008 tour of the West Indies, when he rejoined the side after missing a Test due to the funeral of Lara Bingle's father, he promptly made a century in his first game back. This scenario is different but expect a redoubled effort from Clarke, who is keen to show the time off has not affected the form that brought him his highest Test score in the home summer finale in Hobart.

Given the top order's inexperience, Ross Taylor will become even more important than usual coming in at No. 4. He has taken on extra responsibility this summer, having captained his country for the first time, and has enjoyed a productive season with 392 Test runs at 56 without making a century. He played well at times in the ODIs against Australia but was guilty on occasion of throwing his wicket away, and he is keen to play some much longer innings. "At Test-match level there's no time constraints, unless you're chasing a score," Taylor said. "I played some howlers of shots and was disappointed with how I went out. I'm just going to go out there and play straight and play my game. They are the No. 1 team in the world and it's a good gauge of where you are as a player. I've scored a one-day hundred against them, I'd love to put a Test match hundred to that."

Team news

Australia have a couple of selection decisions to make, firstly over whether North retains his place at No. 6. The claims of Smith are strong, following his outstanding end to the Sheffield Shield season and his usefulness as another bowling option. But it would be strange to bring the incumbent North and not give him at least one Test to turn around his poor form, so it is more likely he will play. The second query surrounds the third fast bowling spot behind Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger. The uncapped Harris might have squeezed ahead of McKay, who debuted in Perth, thanks to impressive one-day form. The only problem is that Harris is carrying a side injury that forced the selectors to fly over Peter George, the tall South Australian bowler. George is an extreme backup only, and should Harris not recover, McKay will definitely make his second appearance.

Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Simon Katich, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Ryan Harris/Clint McKay, 11 Doug Bollinger.

New Zealand's batting line-up is settled for the time being, with Mathew Sinclair's only chance of resuming his Test career being if there is a late injury. It leaves only one decision - two spinners and three seamers or one spinner and four seamers? It is Jeetan Patel's home ground, so his experience of drifting the ball in the Wellington wind could be useful. But the pace and bounce in the centre-wicket practice sessions at the Basin Reserve suggested Brent Arnel might be in line for a debut, which was supported by the distinct green tinge to the surface on Test eve.

"The nature of the pitch brings Brent Arnel into the equation," Daniel Vettori said. "We'll have a good hard look at it tomorrow. If you looked at it now you'd say it's got a bit of greenness in it and a bit of moisture so you look at the seamers, but we'll delay that decision as late as we can."

New Zealand (possible) 1 Tim McIntosh, 2 BJ Watling, 3 Peter Ingram, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Martin Guptill, 6 Daniel Vettori (capt), 7 Brendon McCullum (wk), 8 Daryl Tuffey, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Brent Arnel/Jeetan Patel, 11 Chris Martin.

Pitch and conditions

The wind was howling so much on Wednesday that one local reporter joked that it was lucky Shaun Tait wasn't in Australia's squad or he might hit 170kph. It was a slight exaggeration but the leading fast men will relish the chance to run in with the assistance of the conditions, while others will toil into the wind. The forecast for Friday is fine and 20C with northerly winds dying out.

The practice pitches have been lively and the Test pitch is green, so the new ball will be a challenge for the top-order batsmen. "It will have a bit of drying today," Vettori said, "but it's probably going to be a typical Wellington wicket where it's got a little bit in it early on and then flattens out to a really good Test match wicket."

Stats and trivia

  • New Zealand and Australia have met in eight Tests at the Basin Reserve for two Australian victories, one New Zealand win and five draws
  • New Zealand haven't beaten Australia in a Test match since March 1993, when Danny Morrison helped demolish Allan Border's men at Eden Park
  • Mitchell Johnson and Chris Martin have each picked up 14 wickets in Australia-New Zealand Tests, but Johnson has done it in two games at an average of 11, while Martin has taken eight matches at 74.14
  • Daniel Vettori has the most Test runs, centuries, fifties and wickets of anyone in the New Zealand side

    Quotes

    "We brought a bit of momentum against Bangladesh and Pakistan but Australia are going to be a different challenge. The batsmen are going to be under scrutiny, especially the top five"
    Ross Taylor

    "The Kiwis are always tough to play against, no matter which form of the game you're playing, they're very disciplined and they just hang in there for long periods of time. We're going to have to play very well to beat them." Michael Hussey

    Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY mdsmedia on | March 19, 2010, 0:54 GMT

    @nauroze: You claimed that Australia had been "consistently outplayed by India and South Africa". How does ONE TEST in Sydney where some umpiring decisions went against India (some went against Australia too, but the Indians whined louder) and a series in South Africa where Australia won, qualify as "consistently outplayed"? BTW, Australia dominated most of the Ashes and lost critical points of matches to lose the series. Australia had all the leading batsmen and most leading bowlers in the Ashes series.

  • POSTED BY Number_5 on | March 18, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    More Aussies tuning to watch gilly bat in the IPL...when does it start?? lol

    This series is not as one sided as many people think, Whilst Australia dominated the test series against WI and Pak this summer a closer examination shows there were sessions where the opposition seriously challenged us and even beat us. WI and Pak are ranked near the bottom of the ladder and we should have accounted for them easier than we did. Our batting was brittle and our bowling lacked penertration at times. The Kiwis will take the fight up to us no question and in a two test series (wft?) there is a chance the kiwis could walk away with a series win if all goes to plan.

    It would be nice to have Hilfy in the team as he would thrive in these conditions and North / Hussey really need to stand up..lets hope Clarke doesnt have any bingles with the bat as well (sorry pup :)).

    The Kiwis love nothing more than to take the challenge up to Aus and expect a hard fought series

    Test Cricket Cant beat it

  • POSTED BY CricketKnowledge1990 on | March 18, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    Shailesh you claim New Zealand has a good bowling attack. Are you on drugs? Darryl Tuffey bowls pies and has only been picked up after four years in the wilderness due to the lack of upcoming talent. Tim Southee is a developing one day bowler at best. He gets minimal sideways movement and being able to pitch it full and straight in a test match will not get him far. Chris Martin is an honest trier at best, who can be dangerous with the new ball if conditions suit (but which test bowler isn't dangerous if conditions suit?). Daniel Vettori is world class but still averages over 30 with the ball and his numbers are bolstered by strong performances against Bangladesh, without these he would average high 30's. Australia will win 1-nil because one track will be a road because the Kiwis are scared they will be rolled inside 3 days if they roll out a green top.

  • POSTED BY nauroze123456 on | March 18, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    @ Bollo : The last time when India toured Australia..... India would have triumphed if the SYDENY debacle wouldnt have taken place...... and if you look after 2008... Australia have lost to India 2-0..... lost to South Africa at home and lost the Ashes too..... whereas they have only defeated South Africa ( out of the major test teams)

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | March 18, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    @Nauroze, beg to differ. Quite apart from ODIs (last 3 world cups, last 2 champions trophies) no team has yet been able to wrest the Best Team in Test cricket mantle away from Aus either. India still hasn`t beaten Aus at home (after almost 80 years of test status) and in the last 10 series between Aus/SAf, South Africa has won 1. No, they won`t be taking the Kiwis lightly, and perhaps that explains why Aus remain the dominant (onfield) force in world cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2010, 16:38 GMT

    Kiwis Can beat Australia in first Test.Wellington is their lucky ground.I think Ross Taylor will make a hundred.Michael Clarke will fail.New Zealand have a good bowling attack.They can put pressure on Australia by taking some early wickets with the new ball as wicket looks grassy early on.

  • POSTED BY TequillaGuy on | March 18, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    Hi, I am neutral here but I would love to see a competitive series. Aussies have had it relatively easy for past few months, thrashing WI and Pakistan. I am not sure its going to be very different against NZ. Having said that, Australia does tend to bring the best out of NZ.

    Its not that Australia has played brilliantly, its just that WI and Pak have been so pathetic! Both teams had at-least one good chance to win a test match but didn't make use of it. I am not taking anything away from Aussies,they didn't give an inch to WI and Pak, its just that they haven't been tested for some time now. I hope this is not one more whitewash and we do get to see some competitive test cricket!

  • POSTED BY nauroze123456 on | March 18, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    well whatever people have to say...... Australia are not a dominant force in cricket anymore. They are consistently outplayed by India and South Africa..... so by any means they should not think to take the new zealanders lightl

  • POSTED BY pardo on | March 18, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    To be honest, anything other than an innings defeat inside four days will be good going for NZ. I first got seriously into cricket in the eighties when we had a solid core of players who would have been serious contenders for most other test teams. Today, only Vettori would make any of the top three or four teams in the world. Our seamers could lead a county attack but would never have played a test if they'd been born in Australia or South Africa. Most of our top order would struggle in a 1st division county team in England and would be club cricketers in Australia. Taylor has talent but needs to add grit and nous. McCullum is good on his day but they are rare at test level against good opposition. Neither of them would make the Australian team. Of course even in the 80s, for every Crowe and Hadlee we had a John Morrison and Martin Snedden, but back then we had a core of three or four genuine world class test players. Today we have one. That will be exposed against a quality team.

  • POSTED BY masterblaster1971 on | March 18, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    I am a NZ supporter and I would also llike to see someone stand up and score some runs...I'm talking a big ton not just a ton. If we bat first we will have to survive the first day......then the wicket will become easier to bat on. Here's hoping we bowl first to have any chance.

  • POSTED BY mdsmedia on | March 19, 2010, 0:54 GMT

    @nauroze: You claimed that Australia had been "consistently outplayed by India and South Africa". How does ONE TEST in Sydney where some umpiring decisions went against India (some went against Australia too, but the Indians whined louder) and a series in South Africa where Australia won, qualify as "consistently outplayed"? BTW, Australia dominated most of the Ashes and lost critical points of matches to lose the series. Australia had all the leading batsmen and most leading bowlers in the Ashes series.

  • POSTED BY Number_5 on | March 18, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    More Aussies tuning to watch gilly bat in the IPL...when does it start?? lol

    This series is not as one sided as many people think, Whilst Australia dominated the test series against WI and Pak this summer a closer examination shows there were sessions where the opposition seriously challenged us and even beat us. WI and Pak are ranked near the bottom of the ladder and we should have accounted for them easier than we did. Our batting was brittle and our bowling lacked penertration at times. The Kiwis will take the fight up to us no question and in a two test series (wft?) there is a chance the kiwis could walk away with a series win if all goes to plan.

    It would be nice to have Hilfy in the team as he would thrive in these conditions and North / Hussey really need to stand up..lets hope Clarke doesnt have any bingles with the bat as well (sorry pup :)).

    The Kiwis love nothing more than to take the challenge up to Aus and expect a hard fought series

    Test Cricket Cant beat it

  • POSTED BY CricketKnowledge1990 on | March 18, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    Shailesh you claim New Zealand has a good bowling attack. Are you on drugs? Darryl Tuffey bowls pies and has only been picked up after four years in the wilderness due to the lack of upcoming talent. Tim Southee is a developing one day bowler at best. He gets minimal sideways movement and being able to pitch it full and straight in a test match will not get him far. Chris Martin is an honest trier at best, who can be dangerous with the new ball if conditions suit (but which test bowler isn't dangerous if conditions suit?). Daniel Vettori is world class but still averages over 30 with the ball and his numbers are bolstered by strong performances against Bangladesh, without these he would average high 30's. Australia will win 1-nil because one track will be a road because the Kiwis are scared they will be rolled inside 3 days if they roll out a green top.

  • POSTED BY nauroze123456 on | March 18, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    @ Bollo : The last time when India toured Australia..... India would have triumphed if the SYDENY debacle wouldnt have taken place...... and if you look after 2008... Australia have lost to India 2-0..... lost to South Africa at home and lost the Ashes too..... whereas they have only defeated South Africa ( out of the major test teams)

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | March 18, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    @Nauroze, beg to differ. Quite apart from ODIs (last 3 world cups, last 2 champions trophies) no team has yet been able to wrest the Best Team in Test cricket mantle away from Aus either. India still hasn`t beaten Aus at home (after almost 80 years of test status) and in the last 10 series between Aus/SAf, South Africa has won 1. No, they won`t be taking the Kiwis lightly, and perhaps that explains why Aus remain the dominant (onfield) force in world cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2010, 16:38 GMT

    Kiwis Can beat Australia in first Test.Wellington is their lucky ground.I think Ross Taylor will make a hundred.Michael Clarke will fail.New Zealand have a good bowling attack.They can put pressure on Australia by taking some early wickets with the new ball as wicket looks grassy early on.

  • POSTED BY TequillaGuy on | March 18, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    Hi, I am neutral here but I would love to see a competitive series. Aussies have had it relatively easy for past few months, thrashing WI and Pakistan. I am not sure its going to be very different against NZ. Having said that, Australia does tend to bring the best out of NZ.

    Its not that Australia has played brilliantly, its just that WI and Pak have been so pathetic! Both teams had at-least one good chance to win a test match but didn't make use of it. I am not taking anything away from Aussies,they didn't give an inch to WI and Pak, its just that they haven't been tested for some time now. I hope this is not one more whitewash and we do get to see some competitive test cricket!

  • POSTED BY nauroze123456 on | March 18, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    well whatever people have to say...... Australia are not a dominant force in cricket anymore. They are consistently outplayed by India and South Africa..... so by any means they should not think to take the new zealanders lightl

  • POSTED BY pardo on | March 18, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    To be honest, anything other than an innings defeat inside four days will be good going for NZ. I first got seriously into cricket in the eighties when we had a solid core of players who would have been serious contenders for most other test teams. Today, only Vettori would make any of the top three or four teams in the world. Our seamers could lead a county attack but would never have played a test if they'd been born in Australia or South Africa. Most of our top order would struggle in a 1st division county team in England and would be club cricketers in Australia. Taylor has talent but needs to add grit and nous. McCullum is good on his day but they are rare at test level against good opposition. Neither of them would make the Australian team. Of course even in the 80s, for every Crowe and Hadlee we had a John Morrison and Martin Snedden, but back then we had a core of three or four genuine world class test players. Today we have one. That will be exposed against a quality team.

  • POSTED BY masterblaster1971 on | March 18, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    I am a NZ supporter and I would also llike to see someone stand up and score some runs...I'm talking a big ton not just a ton. If we bat first we will have to survive the first day......then the wicket will become easier to bat on. Here's hoping we bowl first to have any chance.

  • POSTED BY puphuss on | March 18, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    Whatever you say, the fact is that the kangaroos are goona win the test series. Its not about the attitude of the players but the hard work in the domestic circuit, that seperates them from the others.

    What out for Mr. Cricket. He is in sublime form.

    Cheers!!

  • POSTED BY Mitcher on | March 18, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    Aaahhh, the delicious scrump-diddely-umptious irony. Someone calling themselves SouthAFRICA_r_champions attacking Ross Taylor for claiming Aus to be the best side in the world. What exactly, if I may ask, are SA champions of? Choking is one of the few things that come to mind. All Taylor's comments suggest to me is opposition players don't necessarily recognise these flash-in-the-pan caretaker number ones as credible. Other than that: North out, Steven Smith in!! Please.

  • POSTED BY Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on | March 18, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    Ross Taylor did make a mistake there. Ozzies wouldn't mind that though. and what good in following the most predictable test series that happens around? kiwis will be whitewashed(kiddin). I m pitching for brendan to make some runs..his form will help KKR in IPL :P ...

    I'm sure more ozzies would be watching gilli bat (in IPL) than some tom dick harry north etc... :P

  • POSTED BY Aussies_No1 on | March 18, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Australia will always be No 1, no matter what the ranking shows. Indians and South Africans are fighting to find recognition to be in the same league as Australia. They are both doing well, at the moment but are no where near as consistent as Australia. New Zealand, on the other hand, are a joke when it comes to test matches. They have a really unbalanced side especially in their batting department. Hope they put some sort of a fight in this series, but i doubt it.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | March 18, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    @SAf r champs - nor are South Africa ranked No 1 in rugby, and we all know what a joke that is.

  • POSTED BY Hoggy_1989 on | March 18, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    They say winning covers all sins, and so far Australia thrashing the worst Test cricket teams in the world at the moment (West Indies and Pakistan) has covered up North's form slump quite nicely. He hasn't even done that well in the Sheffield Shield this past season; averaging 20 something with one century from 9 matches. After this series against NZ (which I expect them to win 2-0), we have a Pakistan 'home series' in England, and Australia could send an under 12's side to beat them, cause they are that bad.

    This is the final real Test series we have before the Ashes, and if North fails in this match he should be dropped. I'm not convinced Steve Smith is the right choice though to replace North if he fails...sure he can bat rather well, but I'm not convinced he'd be effective as a spinner in NZ; Hauritz should be able to do well in NZ without adding an extra spinner to the team. I think Cameron White at No. 6 as a specialist batsman is a better option than Smith.

  • POSTED BY SouthAFRICA_r_champions on | March 18, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    Ross Taylor, Australia are not number one as you put it, they are in fact number 3. Please get your facts straight before you publicize your thoughts.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | March 18, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    considering new zealand have only beaten australia 7 time in all and only once ever without hadlee! they'll do well to hold on for a draw in this test! martin leading there attack is more know for carrying the flag for traditional number 11 batsmen than his actual bowling!

  • POSTED BY Boonys_army on | March 18, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    While I want to see an Aussie victory, i'd also like to see some NZ lesser names to step up and prove their worth. Sure Taylor, McCullum, and Vettori are world class, but what NZ can hope to extract from this series is the emergence of the some Kiwis to step up and make a name for themselves. I'd like to see Guptil perform on the toughest stage, he has the necessary skills he just needs to show them consistently.Southee looked solid in the ODI's, but test cricket is a different proposition to just bowling yorkers at the death, it'll be interesting to see how he performs and it'll be a true litmus test of his potential. As far as the Aussies go, i'd like to see Harris get a shot over McKay, he looks like the perfect replacement for Siddle, if selected he'll make it his mission to dare the selectors to drop him, just like he recently did in the ODI's. Overall i'm really Looking forward to the series, at the very least to take the attention away from the bore of the IPL.

  • POSTED BY Rev0408 on | March 18, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    I agree with Lennon_Marx...the tail is too long. I'm interested to see how Vettori will go at 6, he has a great temperament and perhaps if he establishes himself before McCullum comes in, a better partnership may result. Sounds like the pitch will do a bit so hopefully we'll witness a see-sawing Test.

  • POSTED BY chinaman75 on | March 18, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    Tough assignment for the Black Caps if we have any chance of footing it with the DAGGY GREENS Southee, Ross Taylor and anyone else in the top order will need to fire and Mitchell "no mates" Johnson would have to have a bad week at the office.

    Peace out

  • POSTED BY robotiger on | March 18, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    This will be a very tough game for NZ. Both bowling attacks are reasonable, but the real point of difference in the batting line ups. Australia will deal with the pitch conditions and produce an overall higher standard of batting. So, I agree with the analysis of this report, Taylor's wicket be crucial.

  • POSTED BY crankypete on | March 18, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    bizarro logic. just because the selectors erred by picking NOrth is no reason to compound that by picking him in the XI. after all, since the squad was picked, North showed his wares with 8 and a golden; Smith with 7-for.

    this will be the equal worst selection of all time if they pick him.

  • POSTED BY thommo-CI-40 on | March 18, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    At the risk of sounding churlish..might I remind Ross Taylor that Australia are no longer the 'No. 1 team in the world' . Jokes aside..Now is the the time for the Kiwis to step up to the plate and win a trans-tasman test series

  • POSTED BY RobTay14 on | March 18, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    I agree with you about Ryder, our test status rises quite a bit with him in the side. I have a feeling Watling will make a score, I went to school with him, and, well quite obviously, he's pretty good lol, especially in the long frmat.

  • POSTED BY Toreador on | March 18, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    Did Ross Taylor really say that? Wow. I predict this article will soon be flooded with comments of indignation from our passionate sub-continental friends… if they can divert their gaze from the bright flashing lights and dancing cheerleaders to humble tussle of the Antipodes.

  • POSTED BY Sachit1979 on | March 18, 2010, 1:31 GMT

    Aussies are no doubt favorites. Bowling attack of Kiwis after missing services of Ian O'Brien and Shane Bond due to their retirements looks depleted and does not look like capable enough of getting 20 wickets. Another worry for them is unstable batting, Watling and Ingram are pretty new to international test match platform and McIntosh, Taylor, Guptill and McCullum are inconsistent performers. Lot depends on skipper Vettori with bowl as well as with bat too as he has been the most consistent performer with both bowl and bat in recent times.

  • POSTED BY Jambo22 on | March 18, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    The fact that NZ hasn't beaten the Aussies since 1993 is a telling one. It shows (a) what a good Test side Australia has been during that time and (b) how much more difficult it is to cause an upset in a Test match than in an ODI or a T20. Oh yeah, it also shows how bad NZ have been at Test cricket since Hadlee retired in 1990.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | March 18, 2010, 0:41 GMT

    the most concerning thing for new zealand is they have only ever beaten australia once without hadlee! reading into the past preformances it shows clearly that just because new zealand are competative in the ODI's doesnt mean they will be in tests! this series wont be any different! matin their bowling attack leader is more noted for keeping the number 11 batsmans reputation intact, than for his bowling!

  • POSTED BY Lennon_Marx on | March 18, 2010, 0:31 GMT

    The lack of Jesse Ryder is a big loss as always for New Zealand, but especially in test matches against the Aussies- his spark would have provided extra balance to the Kiwi side, and not leave the bulk of the responsibility to Taylor and Guptill. Dan Vettori at 6 I think is very concerning, for in spite of his run scoring abilities I think he really is better at 7 or 8. As such I would hope to see an extra batsman at 6 but rather than Sinclair, I would have hoped for Daniel Flynn to act as a Brendan Nash type anchor to the middle order. Regardless, New Zealand are going to have a pretty long tail, and that has got to be a grave concern when facing the Aussies.

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  • POSTED BY Lennon_Marx on | March 18, 2010, 0:31 GMT

    The lack of Jesse Ryder is a big loss as always for New Zealand, but especially in test matches against the Aussies- his spark would have provided extra balance to the Kiwi side, and not leave the bulk of the responsibility to Taylor and Guptill. Dan Vettori at 6 I think is very concerning, for in spite of his run scoring abilities I think he really is better at 7 or 8. As such I would hope to see an extra batsman at 6 but rather than Sinclair, I would have hoped for Daniel Flynn to act as a Brendan Nash type anchor to the middle order. Regardless, New Zealand are going to have a pretty long tail, and that has got to be a grave concern when facing the Aussies.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | March 18, 2010, 0:41 GMT

    the most concerning thing for new zealand is they have only ever beaten australia once without hadlee! reading into the past preformances it shows clearly that just because new zealand are competative in the ODI's doesnt mean they will be in tests! this series wont be any different! matin their bowling attack leader is more noted for keeping the number 11 batsmans reputation intact, than for his bowling!

  • POSTED BY Jambo22 on | March 18, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    The fact that NZ hasn't beaten the Aussies since 1993 is a telling one. It shows (a) what a good Test side Australia has been during that time and (b) how much more difficult it is to cause an upset in a Test match than in an ODI or a T20. Oh yeah, it also shows how bad NZ have been at Test cricket since Hadlee retired in 1990.

  • POSTED BY Sachit1979 on | March 18, 2010, 1:31 GMT

    Aussies are no doubt favorites. Bowling attack of Kiwis after missing services of Ian O'Brien and Shane Bond due to their retirements looks depleted and does not look like capable enough of getting 20 wickets. Another worry for them is unstable batting, Watling and Ingram are pretty new to international test match platform and McIntosh, Taylor, Guptill and McCullum are inconsistent performers. Lot depends on skipper Vettori with bowl as well as with bat too as he has been the most consistent performer with both bowl and bat in recent times.

  • POSTED BY Toreador on | March 18, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    Did Ross Taylor really say that? Wow. I predict this article will soon be flooded with comments of indignation from our passionate sub-continental friends… if they can divert their gaze from the bright flashing lights and dancing cheerleaders to humble tussle of the Antipodes.

  • POSTED BY RobTay14 on | March 18, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    I agree with you about Ryder, our test status rises quite a bit with him in the side. I have a feeling Watling will make a score, I went to school with him, and, well quite obviously, he's pretty good lol, especially in the long frmat.

  • POSTED BY thommo-CI-40 on | March 18, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    At the risk of sounding churlish..might I remind Ross Taylor that Australia are no longer the 'No. 1 team in the world' . Jokes aside..Now is the the time for the Kiwis to step up to the plate and win a trans-tasman test series

  • POSTED BY crankypete on | March 18, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    bizarro logic. just because the selectors erred by picking NOrth is no reason to compound that by picking him in the XI. after all, since the squad was picked, North showed his wares with 8 and a golden; Smith with 7-for.

    this will be the equal worst selection of all time if they pick him.

  • POSTED BY robotiger on | March 18, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    This will be a very tough game for NZ. Both bowling attacks are reasonable, but the real point of difference in the batting line ups. Australia will deal with the pitch conditions and produce an overall higher standard of batting. So, I agree with the analysis of this report, Taylor's wicket be crucial.

  • POSTED BY chinaman75 on | March 18, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    Tough assignment for the Black Caps if we have any chance of footing it with the DAGGY GREENS Southee, Ross Taylor and anyone else in the top order will need to fire and Mitchell "no mates" Johnson would have to have a bad week at the office.

    Peace out