Even if the 2nd Test ends in a draw, Australia will become the no. 1 Test team of the world. This is why not losing this game has become vital for them. On the other hand, New Zealand cricket fans won’t like the idea of defeat in a match where Brendon McCullum appears for the last time in his international career. This is why stakes are high for both the teams with different reasons in mind. It rarely happens in Test series that victory loses its importance as a goal-in-itself and becomes a mere tool to achieve a higher goal. There is every indication that both teams will use all their resources to win this match. So be prepared for an eventful five-day game between Australia and New Zealand.
Toss: Australia won the toss and elected to field.
One may think that Australia would try to guide the game towards a draw, an option which has lesser risk and bigger reward for the team. But so many victories have accorded them a proud confidence which won’t allow Smith & Co to opt a defensive strategy. They are used to playing all sort of cricket, including Test matches, with full force of aggression and most probably they will continue this style in current game too.
Pitch & conditions: Hagley Oval’s pitch looks similarly green to that of Basin Reserve, and both teams are curious as to how it will play. “I think it actually looks pretty similar to the last wicket the day before the game,” Smith said. “It’s quite hard to tell how it’s going to play until you get out there on the morning of the game when they’ve given it a roll and you see it for the last time.”
New Zealand: 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Henry Nicholls, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt), 6 Corey Anderson, 7 BJ Watling (wk), 8 Matt Henry, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult
Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Joe Burns, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Adam Voges, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Peter Nevill (wk), 8 James Pattinson, 9 Josh Hazlewood, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Jackson Bird