Thursday 5th November, 10am local time
The Australian summer will have arrived when the first ball is bowled in anger at the GABBA in the 1st Test match between Australia and New Zealand starting Thursday. The Trans-Tasman rivals have just battled for the Rugby World Cup with the Kiwis emerging victorious, but things may not go their way when they tackle Australia on their own turf in a three-match series.
The GABBA is a fortress for Australia and a nightmare for touring teams, so ordinarily this would usually mean a comfortable win for the Aussies. However this year, things are a little different.
Australia will be fielding a new look side when they walk out on to the GABBA with the retirements of a number of senior players following the loss of the Ashes during the winter. Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris have left a massive hole in the team that will now be filled by some rising young talents.
It will be a big ask to fill those shoes, so the Australians are clearly vulnerable. Joe Burns was the surprising choice to open the batting, and his technique is yet to be truly tested at this level. I tend to think that he may have some trouble with the swinging ball that will be delivered by the New Zealand quicks early in the innings. Usman Khawaja on the other hand looks ready-made for Test cricket. He’ll slot into number three and I expect him to finally deliver on his potential. Steve Smith will drop to number four, before Australia’s wobbly middle order will need to stand up under pressure.
Australia’s strength is undoubtedly with the ball where they have three of the best quicks in the world. Mitchell Johnson is a proven champion, while this series may be the one where Mitch Starc proves he’s no white-ball wonder. Josh Hazelwood is a fantastic third option and he’ll be a handful, particularly in Brisbane and Adelaide where conditions will be favourable.
However if the Kiwis were ever to do some damage on a tour of Australia, this might be the one. Ever-since their confidence-boosting ride in the Cricket World Cup earlier this year, the Kiwis have carried that momentum across all forms of the game. They are a real danger side, and they now know their best is as good as anyone in the world.
Brendon McCullum is an aggressive and inspiration leader, and he remains their most important batsmen, while Martin Guptill has reinvented himself as an opener that is more than capable of bringing his limited over form to the Test arena. However it’s young protégé Kane Williamson who looks the key player in the New Zealand line up. Williamson has been described as the most technically correct batsmen in the world and he will be looking to emerge from the series as a player capable of matching it with the best.
The strength of the Kiwis also appears to be with the ball. The opening combination of Tim Southee and Trent Boult have impressive records, and if the conditions favour movement then they will be very dangerous. You’d have to think the day-night Test in Adelaide will especially be in their favour. However if the conditions flatten out, then it may be their support bowlers that display the biggest gap between the two sides.
This is going to be a battle. New Zealand will come to play and do everything to put the Aussies under pressure. If they can get a few cheap Aussie wickets, in particular captain Smith, and put the middle order under pressure, then they are certainly capable of pulling off an upset victory. However if Australia make runs, I think it will be hard for the Kiwis to match that against this excellent Australian bowling line up.
I think this will be an aggressive series that will produce results, however a look at the weather report for Brisbane predicts the possibility of rain and storms on every day of the Test match. While the batting line ups could be fragile, if significant time is lost then the Draw will come right into play. It looks value at $5.00 at William Hill, and there should be potential spots to lay this result as the Test progresses.
1st Test Result - Draw @$5.00 at William Hill (3 units)
Australia to win series 2-0 @$4.75 at Luxbet (2 units)
With such an inexperienced batting line up, Australia will rely heavily on Steve Smith and David Warner to produce this series. Warner is returning from a thumb injury, so happy to risk him and back Smith to rise under the pressure as he does so often.
Leading Australia Run Scorer 1st Inns – Steve Smith @$3.25 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)
Leading Australia Run Scorer Series – Steve Smith @$3.25 at Luxbet (3 units)
I feel this series will not be one dominated by the bat. Leaning towards the Draw was more about the weather than the two teams. The GABBA is not the easiest place for tourists to come to bat, and if there’s some rain around, it will only spice up the pitch a little more. Happy to make a play on the unders for the 1st Innings of both teams.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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