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Australia seek response after poor start

February 5th, 2016 | by admin
Australia seek response after poor start
Cricket Worldwide
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Big Picture

Australia’s battering on the field in the first ODI at Eden Park has been mirrored away from the game. Dismissive commentary by the New Zealand press, a frank “honesty session” in the dressing rooms after the defeat and the unusual sight of George Bailey airing his differences of opinion with David Warner over an LBW referral – all this in the space of 24 hours. It was no way to start a tour, particularly one where this series is followed so rapidly by Test matches.

The captain Steven Smith will be glad to have the coach Darren Lehmann back with the team for the second match in Wellington, though it does not take a cricket mastermind to define the problems witnessed in Auckland. Australia’s bowling and fielding was flat, their batting overeager and their general composure very much lacking. The inclusion of Usman Khawaja means a likely improvement in the team’s batting output, while that of Adam Zampa’s leg breaks will give Smith a little more variety in the field. However it will take a much improved collective effort to square the series.

New Zealand, meanwhile, are purring along smoothly. Helped by a typically supercharged start from Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill showcased his greater confidence as a limited overs batsman, before strong displays down the order. The bowling unit functioned even more grandly, as Matt Henry and Trent Boult lopped the top off the Australian innings in some style. McCullum’s men have every reason to be confident at home – the only question mark may be the mental hurdle of beating Australia in a series – something they have not done since 2007.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand: WWWWL
Australia: LLWWW

In the spotlight

Australia knew they could expect a searching test from Trent Boult, but it was the support ofMatt Henry that allowed New Zealand to sustain their pressure and turn it into wickets. Bowling at good pace and moving the ball subtly both ways, Henry defeated Shaun Marsh, Steven Smith and George Bailey in quick time to set his side on the path to victory. Having performed so well, he will now be a much greater focus of Austrlaian attention, and how he responds to this will be a key to New Zealand’s fortunes in Wellington.

A little less than six months into his captaincy tenure, Steven Smith faces his first major trouble spot. While he does not lead the Twenty20 side, Australia’s five consecutive defeats across the two short formats has left Smith with a team short on confidence and recent form, also trying to adjust to the challenges presented by New Zealand as a team and a country. He led a frank discussion with team mates after the Eden Park defeat, and it will be a useful measure of his effectiveness as a motivator and leader to see how the Australians respond in Wellington. Vital, too, will be how Smith can rebound from an Auckland innings where New Zealand had clear plans for him and prevailed through using them.

Team news

New Zealand will not be in a hurry to change their team after a strong collective performance at Eden Park, but the leg breaks of Ish Sodhi are in reserve if required.

New Zealand (possible) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Henry Nicholls, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Adam Milne, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult.

Usman Khawaja will replace Shaun Marsh while Adam Zampa is set to make his international debut in place of James Faulkner, who has left the tour with a hamstring strain.

Australia 1 Usman Khawaja, 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith (capt.), 4 George Bailey, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 John Hastings, 9 Adam Zampa, 10 Kane Richardson, 11 Josh Hazlewood.

Pitch and conditions

Wellington’s forecast is for a cloudy and somewhat humid day. The drop-in pitch has assisted seam bowlers with some slow movement in the past but has more recently been an easy-paced batting track.

Stats and trivia

  • In five matches at Westpac Stadium, Australia have won twice and New Zealand twice after a washout in 2000
  • Australia’s most recent win came in December 2005, and New Zealand have won both more recent encounters by wide margins
  • Since that 2005 defeat – by a mere two runs – New Zealand have built a formidable record in Wellington, losing only two of 14 ODIs played at Westpac, with one no result.

Quotes

“We had a good chat about it – it wasn’t ideal, we got beaten pretty badly. It was [captain Steven Smith]. It was player led. The coaches sort of took a back seat. He was fairly measured … it’s definitely not panic stations by any means but we have to improve.”
John Hastings describes Australia’s Eden Park de-brief.

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