AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND 2nd ODI
Manuka Oval, Tuesday 6th December
Australia made a striking comeback to form as Steven Smith led from the front to a comfortable win in the first ODI against New Zealand. They now have a chance to wrap up the series and get the Chappell-Hadlee trophy back home when they take on the Kiwis in the second ODI at Canberra on December 6, Tuesday.
Is this a sign of turnaround for the Aussies?
Australia badly needed the win at Sydney, especially after the lows of South Africa Test series. The scars are still fresh and will take time to heal but the win in first ODI is a great start in that process. They can now take it one step further by sealing the series.
Smith looked in cracking form and was ably supported by Travis Head who has done enough to justify his selection ahead of Glenn Maxwell. Only person under any sort of threat is the misfiring all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. This could be his last chance to redeem something with the bat.
Back-to-back matches may mean a rest for the just returned Pat Cummins. Josh Hazelwood would once again relish leading the bowling for the Kangaroos while Adam Zampa will continue to be the mystery factor. The leg-spinner has become the leading wicket-taker in 2016 and should be a threat with his variations.
Can the Kiwis bounce back?
It was a strange loss for the Kiwis at Sydney because they were in control for most parts but went off the boil at crucial junctures. They were uncharacteristically sloppy in the field – one area they would definitely want to improve at Canberra. With virtually no support for Martin Guptill from the top order, there could be a temptation to pump in an extra batsman replacing one of the all-rounders.
Tim Southee could be in for a recall in the place of the expensive Lockie Ferguson or Matt Henry. Williamson would like to think that a better batting performance could have kept them in the hunt at Sydney but their effort with the ball was below-par.
Trent Boult bowled well but the lack of control from other end didn’t help him. Such a short series gives very little for the teams that go behind early and New Zealand will have their task cut out here. Can they rise up to the occasion with the series on the line?
The win in the first ODI has shrunk the odds in favor of Australia further as their win is offered at odds of 1.38 (UBet). Call it a wish to see the series alive or a punt on the ability of the Kiwis, there could be a visitor win at Canberra. Odds being offered on a Kiwi win are 3.50 (Ladbrokes) but it’s not a bad ploy altogether.
Williamson would be adamant at missing out a chance to lead the team with the bat. And it’s rare to see him miss out twice in succession. Punt on him to be their best batsman. Zampa could be your outside bet to end up as the hosts’ best bowler.