Black Caps smell blood

2011-11-28 13:36
Chris Martin (Getty Images)

Wellington - New Zealand's hopes of recording their first victory over Australia in almost 20 years have been boosted after a raft of injuries forced their trans-Tasman neighbours to pick a rookie trio of pace bowlers and an opener untried in Test cricket.

The first match in their two-Test series begins on Thursday at the 'Gabba with Ross Taylor's team brimming with confidence while Australia are dealing with the withdrawal of five players due to injuries sustained in South Africa.

Several of New Zealand's players have also showed some good form in their warm-up match against Australia 'A', smashing almost 900 runs in their two innings off an attack that includes pace bowlers Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Ben Cutting, who were all named in the first Test squad.

Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder all blasted centuries in the match, while medium pace bowler Doug Bracewell underlined his burgeoning all-round abilities with a swashbuckling 73 not out.

Kane Williamson and Dean Brownlie also posted big scores in first class cricket in New Zealand before the team went to Australia, with Williamson patiently compiling 284 not out against Wellington and the 21-year-old now seems to be comfortable with the rhythm of international cricket.

The batting line-up is likely to feature the same six that played against Australia 'A' with the only real question mark over the number six position when former captain Daniel Vettori comes back into the team for the Test.

Vettori has developed into a competent batsman, averaging 38.92 with four centuries and 11 half-centuries in the past five years, compared to his career average of 30.27.

The 32-year-old could occupy the number six spot should New Zealand decide to play him as a spinner who can bat and go with a four-pace bowling battery on the traditionally fast 'Gabba pitch.

If they decide on the more balanced approach with Ryder taking the fourth seamer's role, though he has been told to scale back his bowling to lessen the chance of recurring injuries, then the uncapped Trent Boult is likely to miss out.

New Zealand's bowling attack remains an issue and they still lack an out and out strike weapon since Shane Bond was forced to retire after injuries curtailed his career.

Chris Martin will again lead the attack though medium-fast bowler Tim Southee could be the player to exploit the atmospheric conditions in Brisbane and extract swing against a batting line-up that still includes the vastly experienced Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin.

New Zealand fans will also keenly follow the captaincy of Taylor in his first major test since he was appointed to replace Vettori in June, to see if he can inspire his side to their first Test win against Australia since 1993.

New Zealand have also not won across the Tasman since 1985, when they won their only series in Australia.

Read more on:    ross taylor


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


As the Absa Premiership nears the Christmas break, a little over half the season remains. Who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Which teams will be relegated? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Should Proteas coach Russell Domingo stay - or go - as national coach?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.