The first of two Tests between Australia and New Zealand kicks off on Thursday in Brisbane. Based on the comparative media coverage here and in New Zealand, it appears the Kiwis are much more fired up about this series than Australia.
The Black Caps haven’t won a Test against Australia since 1993, and haven’t won a Test in Australia since 1985. In fact, they have only won 2 out of their last 22 Tests, one of which was against Zimbabwe. Despite this record and starting as the 5.85 underdogs, the Kiwis feel they have a great chance to score an upset at the Gabba this week. Their optimism stems from Austalia’s injury woes which have forced them to field three rookie pace bowlers (Starc, Pattinson, Cutting) and an opener (Warner) who is untried in Test cricket. In all, five Australians are unavailable due to injury: Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson, Patrick Cummins, Ryan Harris and Shaun Marsh.
Australia come into this test on the back of a 1-1 series draw against South Africa, while New Zealand drew Australia A in a four-day Test with the following scores.
New Zealand: 423
Australia A: 395
New Zealand: 467/6
New Zealand will be pleased to have accrued almost 900 runs in their two innings off an attack that included pace bowlers Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Ben Cutting, all of whom were named in the first Test squad.
McCullum scored 146 in the first innings, while Taylor and Ryder scored 138 and 175, respectively, in the second innings. Taylor was also 57 not-out in the first innings, so he will enter this Test with great confidence.
The Black Caps are capable of racking up a lot of runs, but I question their ability to take 20 Australian wickets.
New Zealand have a decent chance of securing a draw in the first Test, so 3.00 appeals to me for the first Test result. For series betting I like the 4.65 odds on a series draw, because regardless of the result in the first Test a series draw will still be a possibility going into the second Test in Hobart. Another figure that stands out to me is the 9.00 odds for a 0-0 series draw. If you are a Betfair member you may want to lay New Zealand for a Test win, given their dismal record against Australia.
With all that being said I wouldn’t wager too much because Test match cricket has been fairly unpredictable of late. This is something punters on South Africa vs Australia and India vs West Indies would have observed.