AUS vs NZ Match Preview: First Test, 2024

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AUS vs NZ Match Preview- 1st Test, 2024


The first Test between AUS and New Zealand will be played at Basin Reserve, Wellington from February 29. The test match starts at 3:30 am IST. This is the first of the two-match Test series. Australia whitewashed the Kiwis in a T20I series heading into this series.

Australia won all three T20I matches by huge margins, completely dominating the Kiwis in the process. They won the first T20I by six wickets, the second by 72 runs and the third by 27 runs under the DL method.

For New Zealand, the picture changes completely ahead of the Test series. In total, the two teams have played 60 test matches to date and the Kiwis have won only 8 matches. Australia, on the other hand, have won 34. The Kiwis have not won a Test match against the Australians in the last 15 years and won their last Test match at home against Australia in 1993.

The statistics are heavily against them as they aim to win the test series and maintain their top position in the WTC points table. New Zealand is managed by Tim Southee. He has the challenge of improving his team’s performance in this crucial series.

Also read: Big blow for New Zealand! Devon Conway ruled out of first test match between New Zealand and Australia

Australia, on the other hand, is run by Pat Cummins. He will have his senior players available for the series. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood along with Lantha Lyon form the bowling group for this Test match.

Team Analysis: AUS vs NZ Match Preview: First Test, 2024

New Zealand

Tim Southee will lead the team. He will have Kane Williamson available for the Test series. Devon Conway is ruled out of the first Test after failing to recover in time from a thumb injury that kept him out of the third T20I against Australia. Henry Nicholls has been named as his replacement in the team for the first Test.

Bowling-wise, without the likes of Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, the Kiwi bowling attack is toothless. Therefore, Santner and Southee will have to do a lot of the bowling. The Kiwis will need to pick a balanced XI with enough batting and bowling depth.

New Zealand team

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, Henry Nicholls

Australia

Australia has already named its playing XI for the first Test. They have decided to go with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon as their bowling options. Cameron Green, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh also give the team enough bowling options.

Steve Smith has been opening the batting since David Warner’s Test retirement. However, his numbers are not impressive. It will be interesting to see if Australis persist with him as an opener. He is also the vice-captain of the current Test team.

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

Key battles

Steve Smith vs. Tim Southee

The Smith vs Southee contest will be interesting. The New Zealand captain is yet to dismiss the former Australian Test captain in Test cricket. He has bowled 319 deliveries at Smith of which he has scored 167 runs.

Kane Williamson vs. Mitchell Starc

Starc has dismissed Williamson four times in Test cricket and only once in ODI cricket. In 205 deliveries from Mitchell Starcm Williamson has scored only 83 runs. The Kiwi batsman is in form having hit back-to-back centuries against the Proteas.

Key players. Main players

On the part of New Zealand, the hosts. Kane Williamson, Daryl Mitchell and Rchin Ravindra are key with the bat. With the ball, captain Tim Southee and spinner Mitchell Santner.

For Australia, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head are key with the bat. The bowling quartet of Cummin, Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon has been key for Australia for over a decade.

Climate and tone

Weather-wise, the fourth and fifth days are key as there is a chance of heavy rain in Wellington. The pitch is generally a no-access pitch in T20I matches. However, in Test matches, the pitches have a little more seam and swing. With the good weather, the course is expected to do a lot more, especially in the first two days. The amount of spin it offers will be an interesting watch.

Conclusion

New Zealand lost the T20I series. They have a very poor record against Australia in general, but even more so in Test matches. Winning this test series at home is key to maintaining leadership in the WTC points table.

Also read: Australia’s XI announced for first Test against New Zealand