Black Caps must overcome Australia’s pacemen to prosper


This is a high-class batting line-up the world No.2 Black Caps have brought over to Australia – one of their best – but they would not have faced bowlers of such speeds too often.

Pat Cummins is part of an excellent Australian pace attack New Zealand must overcome if they are to win their first series here since 1985.Credit:Getty

And it’s not easy to train for, given there are not many players in world cricket who can bowl at that pace. Some sides have one or two who can let it rip, which allows you to adopt the mentality of getting through a four or five-over spell and attacking the others.

Against this Australian team, however, there will be no respite. The heat will help them by reducing the length of the spells but sooner or later you have to take the initiative, get on top of the bowlers and dictate to them.

Pakistan did not do that, even in the first session of the series when they did not lose a wicket. Their 0/75 quickly became five for not many more.

New Zealand have strike power in their line-up who can worry Australia. Kane Williamson is one of the world’s best, Ross Taylor has been a fine player for a very long time while Henry Nicholls and Tom Latham, though low profile, are building commendable records.

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And they bat deep with wicketkeeper BJ Watling and Mitchell Santner capable of making valuable scores in the middle and lower order.

Australia’s batsmen piled on the runs against Pakistan but this is a big rise in class against Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. They might not be in the same company as Richard Hadlee, who spearheaded the Kiwis to their only series win here in 1985, but are all very good in their own right.

These tracks should suit them as they are quicker than previous attacks they have brought over. I preface that by saying good fast bowling in Australia is not just about pace but being accurate. We did not see enough of that from Pakistan.

If you are leaking four to five runs an over and landing them all over the pitch you will not take wickets against Australian batsmen in conditions they know so well.

Australia’s batting is improving but it’s not rock solid. Marnus Labuschagne has joined Steve Smith and David Warner as locks but Joe Burns, Matthew Wade and Travis Head have not cemented their spots.

I want to see them play in a manner that forces people to sit up and take notice and say, ‘You are the type of batsman who can be relied upon against quality opposition’, as Marnus has in the past four months.

Despite the Black Caps’ higher ranking, Australia deserve to start the series favourites given New Zealand’s poor record over here. I believe they will win but if Williamson’s team can avoid defeat in Perth, which should suit the home team more, it will be game on heading to Melbourne and Sydney.

Mark Taylor played 104 Tests for Australia, 50 of them as captain, and is a former Cricket Australia board member.

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