Four debutants for Australia vs NZ today
Australian XI could feature as many as four debutants vs NZ in the first Test starting today
Captain Ross Taylor said yesterday that New Zealand were confident of winning their first Test in Australia for 26 years against a weakened bowling attack at the Gabba. The Black Caps, ranked a lowly eighth and winners of only three of their past 22 Tests, take on Michael Clarke's Australians in the throes of an injury crisis that has hit their new-ball attack.
Australia captain Michael Clarke and New Zealand captain Ross Taylor
pose with the trophy at the Gabba yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The Australians have named three pace bowling newcomers with James Pattinson, Ben Cutting and Mitchell Starc in their most inexperienced Test squad since 1985, when the Kiwis last won a Test across the Tasman.
Taylor senses that New Zealand, for so often second-best in the Trans-Tasman Trophy, have their chance to win only their eighth Test in 51 encounters going back to 1946. "Every time you play against Australia, you don't need any more motivation with the trans-Tasman rivalry," Taylor said before Thursday's Tests.
"We want to win every game. We're confident with the way we've been playing." Taylor said he still expected a tough examination from the Australia despite their inexperienced bowling line-up. The Black Caps plastered an Australia A attack featuring Pattinson, Cutting and Starc for 890 runs in two innings in a high-scoring draw.
Taylor said he would reveal his starting eleven on match morning but predicted a huge future for young all-rounder Doug Bracewell, who took 4-87 and scored an unbeaten 73 against Australia A.
Clarke hints at playing Lyon
Australia skipper Michael Clarke hinted he is likely to play spinner Nathan Lyon and leave out one of Australia's three fast bowling newcomers against New Zealand at the Gabba.
Clarke, lining for his seventh Test as captain and first at home, did not reveal his selected eleven, but suggested left-armer Lyon's finger-spin could get its rewards on the bouncy Gabba strip.
"The experience I've had at the Gabba, a lot of spinners have had success with bounce more than spin so I'm not concerned too much in regards to how much the ball spins on this wicket if there's bounce," Clarke said.
"So if a spinner plays in our team I'm confident he'll have success." � AFP