AUS vs NZ Match Preview- 1st Test, 2024

Updated - 28 Feb 2024, 07:20 PM

AUS vs NZ Match Preview- 1st Test, 2024
Photo Credit: (Twitter/BlackCaps)

The AUS vs NZ first Test will be played in 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 the three T20I matches by big margins dominating the Kiwis completely in the process. They won the first T20I by six wickets, the second by 72 runs, and the third by 27 runs on the DLs method. 

For New Zealand, the picture changes completely heading into the Test series. Overall, the two teams have played 60 Test matches to date with the Kiwis having won just 8 matches. Australia on the other hand, have won 34. The Kiwis have not won a Test match against the Aussies in the last 15 years and have won their last Test match at home against Australia in 1993. 

The stats are heavily stacked against them as they aim to win the Test series and maintain their pole position on the points on the WTC points table. New Zealand are led by Tim Southee. He has the challenge of bettering the performances of his team in this crucial series. 

Also Read: Big blow to New Zealand! Devon Conway ruled out from the first NZ vs AUS Test match

Australia on the other hand, is led 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- 1st Test, 2024

New Zealand 

Tim Southee will lead the side. He will have Kane Williamson available for the Test series. Devon Conway is ruled out of the first Test after he has not recovered 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 squad for the first Test.

Bowling-wise without the likes of Trent Boult and Neil Wagner the Kiwi bowling attack lacks the teeth. Santner and Southee thus will need to do a lot of the bowling. The Kiwis will need to choose a balanced XI with enough batting and bowling depth.

New Zealand Squad 

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 have already named their playing XI for the first Test. They have decided to go with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon as the 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 whether Australis persists with him as the opener. He is also the vice-captain of the current Test side. 

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 Kiwi captain is yet to dismiss the former Australian Test skipper in Test cricket. He has bowled 319 deliveries at Smith from which he has scored 167 runs. 

Kane Williamson vs Mitchell Starc 

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

Key Players 

For New Zealand, the hosts. Kane Williamson, Daryl Mitchell, and Rchin Ravindra are key with the bat. With the ball, skipper 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 have been key for Australia for over a decade now. 

Weather and Pitch

In terms of weather, the fourth and fifth days are key as there is a chance of heavy rain in Wellington. The pitch is generally a drop-in pitch in T20I matches. However, in Test matches, the pitches have a bit more seam and swing bowling. With the weather around, the pitch is expected to do a lot more, especially in the first two days. How much spin it offers will be an interesting observation.

Conclusion

New Zealand lost the T20I series. They have a very poor record against Australia overall, but more so in Test matches. Winning this Test series at home is key for them to maintain the lead in the WTC points table. 

Also Read: Australia’s playing XI for the first Test against New Zealand announced

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Australia National Cricket Team Australia tour of New Zealand 2024 New Zealand national cricket team NZ vs AUS 2024