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New Zealand vs Australia, First Test Tips & Preview

Australia and New Zealand will kick off their two-match Trans-Tasman Test series in Wellington, with the home side needing to re-write the record books against the Australians.

Can Australia bounce back from their loss to the West Indies?

Can the Kiwis defy recent history and win on home soil?

Our experts analyse the form and markets for the Trans-Tasman battle royale.

NEW Zealand vs. Australia

29th February, 9:00am

After a summer of four-day Test dominance against Pakistan and West Indies (excluding the miracle in Brisbane), Australian cricket fans can sit back and enjoy a mouthwatering Trans-Tasman Series against New Zealand.

While the Aussies must recapture their ruthless demeanour after falling to the Windies by eight runs at the Gabba, the market is firmly in their camp at $1.55.

It certainly wasn’t the Australian team of old during their most recent outing, with their inexperienced opponents exploiting a post-David Warner batting line-up and reducing the Aussies to three scores under 300 in two Tests.

Steve Smith, who had averaged less than 10 in his first three digs as an opening batsman, found form in the second innings at the Gabba with 91*. There will be many eyes on Smith and his replacement at No. 4, Cameron Green, against a bowling line-up consisting of Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Will O’Rourke.

It’s been 31 years since Australia lost a test match in New Zealand, but that record could be under pressure if the likes of Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head don’t stand up in the middle order. Labuschagne has recorded just one century in his past 34 innings.

In more positive news, Australia have certainly made their presence felt since travelling across The Ditch with a dominant 3-0 sweep of the T20 Series.

As for the Kiwis, they will be looking at this Test Series as a great chance to re-write the record books. While they’ve defeated the Aussies just once in Tests over the past 15 years, they enter this game on the back of three straight long-form wins over Bangladesh and South Africa.

Currently ranked at the top of the ICC World Test Championship, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, and prodigious young star Rachin Ravindra will undoubtedly cause concerns for Australia’s bowlers.

They’ve been dealt significant blows with injuries to opener Devon Conway and paceman Kyle Jamieson, while Neil Wagner surprised the cricket world with an emotional retirement on Tuesday. Wagner will still run drinks in the first Test but don’t count on him making a return when the two sides meet in Christchurch on March 8.

The health of their list and incredible record against the home side means Pat Cummins and his men should salute in this first Test, but $1.55 seems unders on recent form.  

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc.

New Zealand squad: Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O’Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

Suggested Bet: U. Khawaja Top Away Batsman @ $4.50

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