Brisbane: Injury-weakened Australia to face New Zealand on home soil for the first time since their embarrassing Ashes defeat, taking on a New Zealand team convinced conditions might just be right for an upset here on today.
With five frontline players absent through injury, Australia captain Michael Clarke will dole out at least three baggy green caps to debutants in Brisbane on Thursday before the first of two Tests against their trans-Tasman rivals.
The sidelining of Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnston, all-rounder Shane Watson and exciting youngster Pat Cummins forced selectors to choose Test debutants James Pattinson, Ben Cutting and Mitchell Starc along with new opening batsman David Warner.
After these injures experts said that Australia are still favourites in this Test and should win the series. But New Zealand have a sniff. They haven’t won a Test in Australia in 26 years, back when Richard Hadlee was at his peak and Allan Border’s Australians were struggling at the start of their rebuilding phase.
New Zealand are far from their peak right now they nearly lost to Zimbabwe a month ago and sit eighth on the Test rankings but Australia are not far from their mid 1980s position. They are coming off a fine victory in Johannesburg less than a fortnight ago.