Sydney - New Zealand will be hoping Doug
Bracewell can revive his form of 2011 after he was named as the third seamer in
Brendon McCullum's pace attack for the opening Test against Australia in
Brisbane on Wednesday.
Although his stock is not nearly as high as
fellow quicks Trent Boult and Tim Southee, Bracewell's match-winning
performance against Australia in Hobart four years ago will always give him a
special place in New Zealand's Test history.
In only his third outing, Bracewell took a
match haul of 9-60 and the wickets of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael
Hussey in one dizzying spell as the Blacks Caps won their first Test on
Australian soil since 1985.
The 25-year-old has not entirely fulfilled
the potential he displayed at Bellerive Oval but his recent performances have
been strong enough for him to be preferred to Matt Henry for the first Test,
which starts on Thursday.
"It was a bit of a coin toss with them
but we were comfortable either way," McCullum told reporters at the Gabba
on Wednesday. "They're both very similar bowlers.
We just thought Doug was bowling a touch
better at this time." McCullum also confirmed that all-rounder James
Neesham would bat at number six ahead of wicketkeeper BJ Watling.
Unbeaten in seven Test series since 2013,
New Zealand are widely viewed to have their best chance in a good while to
secure a second series victory on Australian soil to go with the Richard
Hadlee-inspired 1985 triumph.
"It's been a while and nice to know
when you enter a series against Australia that you've got three Tests, to test
yourself against one of the best teams in the world," McCullum added.
"We're under no illusions how
difficult our task is but we're in a good space. I'm pretty confident our guys
will play well and if we are beaten then we'll make it bloody tough for them to
Hadlee was at the Gabba on Wednesday, 30
years after he took 15 wickets to fire New Zealand to their only win at the
While the pace bowling great made the hosts
slight favourites for the series, which continues after Brisbane with tests in
Perth and Adelaide, the 64-year-old liked what he saw in the 2015 New Zealand
side. "Test cricket particularly needs some sort of revival," he told
"The brand and style of the game we
are playing under Brendon McCullum (is) exciting, attacking, aggressive and
pro-active. "It's high risk but has great rewards. This is an exciting
side, and it's worth watching them go about their business." Team: Tom
Latham, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, James
Neesham, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Mark Craig, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee,