November 30, 2011 by dixwah
Australia’s semi-regeneration continues at the ‘Gabba tomorrow with another batch of new faces preparing to take on a New Zealand side sensing a rare opportunity to not only beat Australia in Australia, but win a Test match against a fully-fledged cricketing nation.
Not unlike most of the Australian public, the Black Caps are sniffing a rare vulnerability within the Australian cricket team at the moment, but face a bigger problem in possibly not having the cattle to take advantage.
New Zealand cricketers always play above their weight (possibly excluding Jesse Ryder, playing above his weight would make Bradman look like Chris Martin), but a shallow talent pool creates a reliance on their top players to perform if they are to be competitive against the better teams.
The likes of Vettori, McMillan and even Vincent have been blooded on recent trips with success, and the Kiwis will need numbers from new faces like Doug Bracewell (new face, old name) and Kane Williamson if they are any chance of getting a result from the series.
As usual, though, the big (named, not framed – but still including Ryder) boys of NZ cricket will make the difference in this series.
The batting is capable. Guptill is a good player and foil for McCullum, who has shown in T20 that he’s a seriously quality bat when in form. A quick ton in the warm-up game and Australia’s fresh attack could see him firing.
Taylor and Ryder have excellent Test records in the middle order, and also seemd in good touch against the ‘A’ side. Williamson is recognised across the ditch as the next big thing so watch this pace (mind you, Hamish Marshall was similarly stamped).
The hard fact of Test cricket however, is that even if you get a big score, you’re going to need to bowl a side out twice to win. This is where the Black Caps will struggle.
Chris Martin has the ability to take the ball away from Australia’s stack of lefties, but has a horrible record against Australia (15 wickets @87).
Tim Southee may deserve respect for his antics on an official flight (http://www.newswarped.com/2011/02/tim-southees-profile-goes-mile-high-on-emirates/) but at medium-pace he probably hasn’t become the strike bowler the selectors saw through a stunning U/19 World Cup campaign.
Which leaves Bracewell and old man Vettori. The V-bomber will bowl superbly but is unlikely to rip through the line-up, making one-Test veteran Bracewell the key. He’s not Shane Bond, but took 5 wickets on debut in Zimbabwe with reasonable pace and followed-up with bat and ball at Allan Border Field.
Just because it’s Australia playing New Zealand doesn’t mean this series will resemble recent walkovers. New Zealand, always capable and innovative, now has the group of players able to challenge an ailing Australia. An interesting series awaits.