|Australia||$1.36 at Bet365|
|Draw||$9 at Bet365|
|New Zealand||$5 at Sportsbet|
1pm AWST Thursday, December 12 at Perth Stadium
A sense of the unknown surrounds the first match of the 2019/20 Trans-Tasman Trophy series.
Perth Stadium has staged only three first-class games since opening in early 2018, one of which was the Australia vs India Test last summer. This week’s fixture will also mark the first day-night Test ever held in Western Australia.
The venue will seem as foreign to many of the Aussies as it will to New Zealand. Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb were the top five batsmen for last year’s win over India, but not one of them is in the Test squad 12 months on.
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On the other hand, Australia’s bowling attack will have a very familiar look about it. Michael Neser and James Pattinson have been named as reserves for the Perth Test, but it is expected the national selectors will stick with the New South Wales quartet of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc.
Both teams bring good form into this series. After retaining the Ashes in the UK earlier in the year, Australia ushered in the southern summer with two commanding victories over a disappointing Pakistan side. New Zealand also enjoyed a big win at home, taking out their two-match series against England thanks to an innings victory in the first Test.
The big question for the Black Caps is whether or not Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme will play. Both sat out the second Test against England last week due to injury and remain in doubt for Perth.
That opens up some dilemmas for the touring selectors. Daryl Mitchell took over de Grandhomme’s allrounder slot but went wicketless in Hamilton, while Matt Henry stood in for Boult. Speed demon Lockie Ferguson is also in the squad and could make his Test debut if Boult does not pass fit.
Australia vs New Zealand top runscorer odds
David Warner – $4 at Sportsbet
Warner was out suspended for last year’s Perth Test, but it is hard to ignore his form. The left-handed opener obliterated Pakistan in the recent two-match series, racking up some 489 runs in only two innings. If the Kiwi quicks miss their mark early on, Warner will punish them.
Kane Williamson – $3.50 at Bet365
Although other players grabbed the headlines in NZ’s series win over England, Williamson is still the top dog. The skipper made two centuries in three Tests when the Kiwis last visited Australia in 2015, so there is nothing wrong with his track record when crossing the ditch.
Australia vs New Zealand top wicket-taker tips
Pat Cummins – $3.50 at Ladbrokes
It was Nathan Lyon who starred with eight wickets at Perth Stadium, but one suspects the quicks will dominate this time around. If there is any variable bounce in the wicket, Cummins is your man. His ability to hurry batsmen up from back of a length is second to none.
Tim Southee – $4 at Sportsbet
If Boult does not play in Perth, Southee’s experience and class will become all the more important. The 30-year-old seamer, like most of the NZ bowlers, does not have an especially good record in Australia, so he will want to make a statement from the off.
Australia vs New Zealand 1st Test predictions
Australia first-innings lead – $1.51 at Sportsbet
Both teams are up and about, but NZ’s injury concerns tip the balance in favour of the hosts. Australia’s top order bats looked terrific in Brisbane and Adelaide, so expect them to fire again on what should be a decent wicket in Perth.
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