Captain Ross Taylor said on Wednesday that New Zealand were confident of winning their first Test in Australia for 26 years against a weakened bowling attack at the Gabba this week.
The Black Caps, ranked a lowly eighth and winners of only three of their past 22 Tests, take on Michael Clarke’s Australians in the throes of an injury crisis that has hit their new-ball attack. The Australians have named three pace bowling newcomers with James Pattinson, Ben Cutting and Mitchell Starc in their most inexperienced Test squad since 1985, when the Kiwis last won a Test across the Tasman. Taylor senses that New Zealand, for so often second-best in the Trans-Tasman Trophy, have their chance to win only their eighth Test in 51 encounters going back to 1946.
“Every time you play against Australia, you don’t need any more motivation with the trans-Tasman rivalry,” Taylor said before Thursday’s first of two Tests.
“We want to win every game. I wouldn’t say we’ve got a better chance here.” “We’re in a good space at the moment. We’re confident with the way we’ve been playing. We need to do the basics well.”
Taylor said he still expected a tough examination from the Australia despite their inexperienced bowling line-up.
The Black Caps plastered an Australia A attack featuring Pattinson, Cutting and Starc for 890 runs in two innings in a high-scoring draw, with Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum and Taylor hitting centuries. Black Caps coach John Wright believes Australia could finally be vulnerable in Brisbane this week.
Australia have not lost at the Gabba since 1988 and the Kiwis have only won a total of two Tests in Australia, both in 1985, on their way to a series win. “It’s impressive, no doubt about it but we have everything to play for,” said Wright, who played in the triumphant Kiwi team in 1985. “In our changeroom we have some young cricketers who are really looking forward to playing this match.”
“We are not daunted by that record, we see it as an opportunity. It will be up to us (to break it).” Taylor said he would reveal his starting eleven on match morning but predicted a huge future for young all-rounder Doug Bracewell, who took 4-87 and scored an unbeaten 73 against Australia A.
Asked facetiously at his pre-match press conference if he would be playing a spinner on the Gabba pitch given the secrecy surrounding Australia’s attack, Taylor replied:”It’s pretty hard to drop a guy (Daniel Vettori) who has played 106 Test matches.”
“He has a lot of weight in our team. He brings a lot of experience, Daniel. And his batting as well, he’s got six Test hundreds.”
“He likes playing against Australia and I’m sure he’ll be relishing the opportunity after not playing in the warm-up game (against Australia A).”