Trans-Tasman Trophy Preview: Australia, NZ descend upon Wellington for opener | The Sporting Base

Trans-Tasman Trophy Preview: Australia, NZ descend upon Wellington for opener

February 28, 2024

Trans-Tasman Trophy Preview: Australia, NZ descend upon Wellington for opener

Wellington’s Basin Reserve will play host to the first Test of Australia and New Zealand’s two-Test series for the Trans-Tasman Trophy on Thursday morning (9:00am AEDT).

Fresh off a 3-0 T20I series whitewash, the Australians will look to respond from their shock loss to the West Indies in Brisbane and spark a climb back up the ICC World Test Championship standings.

Australia last faced the Black Caps at Test level back on Australian soil in the 2019-20 summer with the hosts winning all three Tests by 200-plus runs to retain the Trans-Tasman Trophy.

The Australians have dominated this Test fixture throughout the years having lost just one of the past 31 meetings – or since 1993 – between the two sides with the loss coming in Hobart in 2011.

Australia enter the match as the world’s No.1-ranked Test outfit and third in the ICC World Test Championship standings whilst New Zealand are the No.5-ranked Test side but sit atop the ICC World Test Championship standings.

Pat Cummins’ Australians faced off against Pakistan and West Indies earlier in the summer sweeping the Pakistan series 3-0 before splitting the West Indies series at one-apiece.

It capped off a busy year of Test cricket in which they competed in The Ashes, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and the World Test Championship Final all overseas.

New Zealand are fresh off a clean-sweep of a second-rate South African side in which world No.1 Test batter Kane Williamson smacked three centuries from four innings.

Australia are set to have another look at the Steve Smith at opener experiment after the 34-year-old most recently carried the bat with a 91* in their loss to the West Indies.

Usman Khawaja will open alongside Smith with Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head and Mitch Marsh set to round out the middle-order.

Alex Carey will keep with trusty bowling quartet Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood rounding out the side.

Blacks Caps bowler Neil Wagner – who proved a key contributor the last time the two sides faced at Test level – yesterday announced his retirement from Test cricket after selectors informed the 37-year-old that he would be overlooked for the side’s XI.

The hosts will also be without opener Devon Conway who suffered a thumb injury in the second T20I last week with Will Young his expected replacement.

Rachin Ravindra (knee) and Daryl Mitchell (heel) have both been cleared to play in a big boost for the Black Caps.

Williamson will join Ravindra and Mitchell in the middle-order with wicketkeeper Tom Blundell and allrounder Glenn Phillips at No.6 and No.7.

Offspinner Mitchell Santner is expected to earn a recall after being overlooked for New Zealand’s second Test win against the Proteas with captain Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Will O’Rourke likely to round out the bowling unit.

Australia enter the clash as favourites with bookmakers forecasting Cummins’ men to continue the side’s 30-year stranglehold over the Trans-Tasman Trophy.

Possible New Zealand XI: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Glenn Phillips, Matt Henry, Tim Southee (c), Will O’Rourke
Possible Australia XI: Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood


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