New Zealand look for payback against Australia

Hosts take on top-ranked ODI team in three-match series beginning on Monday

Afp January 28, 2017
New Zealand take on Australia in three-match series beginning on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS

AUCKLAND: New Zealand will seek revenge against an understrength Australia in the ODI series beginning in Auckland on Monday after a humiliating whitewash in the return fixture last year.

Australia dominated the Black Caps 3-0 to hoist the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in December and coach Mike Hesson said his team were keen to make amends on home soil.

“We only played them a short time ago and we weren’t at our best. We probably didn’t have the resources that we’ve got available now,” he said. “It’s a huge series for us, an exciting series for us and playing in front of some big home crowds is going to be really important for us.”

Australia’s top priority at the moment is the upcoming tour of India, where they have not won a Test since 2004, and they have rested vice-captain Dave Warner and opening batsman Usman Khawaja for the New Zealand series.

Smith ruled out of New Zealand ODI series

Captain Steve Smith is also out with an ankle injury, forcing wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to don the skipper’s armband and leading to youngster Sam Heazlett’s call-up.

The Black Caps will not miss Warner in particular, who was their chief tormenter in the December series, amassing 299 runs at 99.66 from the three matches.

Australia, the world’s top ranked ODI team, have added Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh to the batting to face New Zealand, who are ranked fourth.

The Australians are coming off a 4-1 series win over Pakistan and, while they appear a weakened side on paper, Hesson said they could not be underestimated.

“They’ve still got plenty of good players,” he said.

New Zealand will not have to deal with Warner in Australia ODIs

However, Hesson said the hosts were buoyed by their own recent success against Bangladesh in all three forms of the game, particularly since their pace attack finally showed signs it was firing in the final Test.

The Black Caps also have a stronger batting line-up than the last time they played Australia thanks to the introduction of Ross Taylor and Neil Broom.

The classy Taylor missed the last series due to eye surgery while Broom has impressed since being recalled against Bangladesh after six years in the wilderness.

The second ODI will be in Napier on Thursday, with the third in Hamilton on Sunday.

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