Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: New Zealand vs Pakistan: First Test Preview

New Zealand vs Pakistan: First Test Preview

Neil Wagner

New Zealand look to keep their near-perfect home summer rolling when they take on Pakistan in a Boxing Day Test.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The hosts have a chance to close in on Australia at the top of the ICC Test rankings and also put themselves in contention for the World Test Championship final next year.

New Zealand vs Pakistan | 26 December - 30 December | Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

To Win Match
New Zealand 3/10
Draw 11/2
Pakistan 6/1

New Zealand
The Black Caps proved adept at handling early-match conditions in the Tests against the West Indies and will be buoyed by the form of skipper Kane Williamson.

Williamson has been ably backed up by the man who stood in for him as skipper in the second Test against the West Indies in Tom Latham.

The emergence of a number of young seamers has been another boost to New Zealand, but they will welcome the presence of old hands Tim Southee and Neil Wagner to lead their attack. Wagner should prove tough for Pakistan to handle with his mastery of the short-pitched assault.

This match will be just the second Test played at the Bay Oval, but the venue has so far proven to be a happy hunting ground with BJ Watling scoring his famous double-ton against England in Mount Maunganui.

Pakistan have some serious injury woes to contend with as skipper Babar Azam and opener Imam-ul-Haq have been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test.

Wicketkeeper and vice-captain Mohammad Rizwan will lead the side in Babar's absence. The regular skipper is close to a return but has been unable to enjoy a net as yet and won't be risked.

The disrupted season has come at the worst time for Shan Masood who scored three hundreds in a row earlier this year and looked to have settled into life as a Test match top-order batsman. He could hold the key to Pakistan being competitive.

Pakistan hasn't won a Test in New Zealand since January 2011 but since then have played just three matches in the game's longest format in the land of the long white cloud.

Verdict: New Zealand 3/10
The Black Caps are tipped to continue their fine run of form over this summer. 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

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