New Zealand face Australia fresh off the back of a Test series win over England at home.
Australia haven’t been put under pressure very much in the longest format of the game this season.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Australia vs New Zealand | First Test (D/N) | Thursday 12 December – Monday 16 December | Perth Stadium, Perth | 07:00
New Zealand 15/4
Australia won both their Tests against Pakistan by an innings and while they will take confidence from their drubbing of Misbah Ul Haq’s charges, it did not serve as preparation to face a handy Black Caps side.
The top-order fired spectacularly against Pakistan with David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne the big stars.
Steve Smith had very little to do against Pakistan but might have to put in a more substantial shift against their rivals from across the Tasman. Smith thrives in adversity and in a tight series could be the difference.
James Pattinson returns to the squad but both he and Michael Neser are unlikely to unseat the pace trio of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
Nathan Lyon’s five-fer against Pakistan was a reminder that he is perhaps the best spinner in Australian conditions.
Australia will make history as the first side ever to play two successive Test matches under floodlights.
The Black Caps arrive in Perth with an in-form batting lineup that is also one of the deepest in Test cricket right now.
Bj Watling’s double-ton alongside Mitchell Santner’s maiden Test hundred in the first Test against England underlined how difficult the Black Caps can be to put away.
New Zealand’s great disadvantage will be their relative inexperience in playing with the pink ball. The Black Caps have played only two Day/Night Tests despite being involved in the inaugural pink-ball match.
The Black Caps face a choice between the express pace of Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, and the experience of Neil Wagner and Tim Southee.
Verdict: Australia 4/10
Australia’s experience with that pink Kookaburra will count.
Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.