Australia's shock Test loss to the West Indies is being treated as a double-edged sword by New Zealand as the Kiwis look to join in the giant killing. The Aussie cricket team, stung and more than a little embarrassed by the eight-run defeat to the Windies in Brisbane, head to New Zealand searching for redemption in next month's two-Test series.
Pat Cummins' world champion team will start warm favourites despite the hiccup but New Zealand in New Zealand is a difficult proposition, especially with valuable World Test Championship points on offer. The New Zealanders are about to find out whether the Windies have poked the bear and the loss was just an aberration or whether it’s the start of a decline in form.
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Former New Zealand wicket-keeper and Fox Cricket commentator Ian Smith, who called the final moments of the Gabba boilover, believes Australia's loss is good news-bad news for the Black Caps. "There's a vulnerability we saw (in Brisbane) about this Australian side. If you put them under pressure and can sustain the pressure, they can crumble like the best of them," he told Radio SENZ.
"I think that may have opened our eyes and given us a bit of hope in our conditions. But it also stung the Aussies. That hurt them big time and they will come back strong. It’s not often they have to stand around at post-match presentations and hear the opposition get lauded, particularly in their own backyard."
This was WI long after the presentation. Time to forget the idea of ‘retaining’ a trophy? Massive anti-climax when the Aussies were called up to lift the F-W Trophy having lost a thriller and series drawn 1-1. WI deserved to be on the podium with them to share it #AusvWI pic.twitter.com/yHePNIx4Uw
— Alison Mitchell (@AlisonMitchell) January 28, 2024
Australia won't be resting players for New Zealand Tests
Smith also ruled out Australia resting any of its front-line players after a busy summer, pointing out the stakes are too high to take the foot off the pedal. "I think any thought that (players) might be rested have gone out the window because Test championship points are up for grabs," he said. "We could be seeing a very strong Australian side and a very determined Australian side."
Australia coach Andrew McDonald has given every indication the visitors will field a full strength XI in New Zealand, emphasising the need for continuity, especially with the new-look batting order. "We are not in the mood to change the batting order," he said.
"We feel like as a collective that unit will be able to have success over multiple Test matches, and we will let that play out. We feel as though with that order as it is they complement each other and we should be able to navigate through most situations."
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