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New Zealand vs Australia first Test: Tips and suggested bets

The first Test between New Zealand and Australia begins at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday morning (Wed 2200 GMT) and cricket expert James Richardson has several top tips for the clash.

New Zealand have not won a Test match on home soil against Australia since 1993, but the Black Caps have been in history-making form of late.

The hosts come into the series off the back of a 2-0 World Test Championship series win over South Africa, albeit with the Proteas coming over with a severely under-strength team to record their first-ever loss to New Zealand.

Not long before, however, New Zealand suffered a stunning Test defeat to Bangladesh away, so their form in the ultimate format is a bit tough to read.

Australia, on the other hand, have been dominant across a home summer apart from a stunning Test loss to the West Indies, in a match marked by some bizarre decision-making from the Aussies. In five Tests at home, Australia notched four wins and suffered one loss.

New Zealand have won their last five Tests at the Basin Reserve but have not beaten Australia at the venue since 1990.

In their last outing against Australia at the Wellington ground, New Zealand suffered a hammering. They went down by an innings and 52 runs.

Three New Zealand players who featured in that match are part of their current squad while Australia have five with Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon all travelling across the Tasman.

 

New Zealand vs Australia first Test: Suggested bets

New Zealand are the underdogs for this one and offer great value on an unqualfied win considering they have been playing quite well.

Of course, their track record against Australia will probably dissuade the more circumspect punter.

The Basin Reserve can play a little flat at times if there isn't a generous covering of grass but these sides would struggle to bat for the five days a draw would require, although there is some chance of rain interruptions on Saturday and Sunday.

When the pressure was on against South Africa, Kane Williamson came through for New Zealand and he looks to be the strongest candidate to top score for the hosts.

While Rachin Ravindra has scored some runs this season, they didn't come against an attack of the quality that Australia possess.

Williamson scored a double hundred in his last Test at the Basin Reserve and has enjoyed great Test form in recent matches.

Pat Cummins is probably the form fast bowler in the world right now outside of Jasprit Bumrah.

In pace-friendly conditions with good bounce, he will be very difficult for New Zealand to handle and he is likely to get into the wickets.

 

Suggested bets

New Zealand to win the Test

Kane Williamson to top-score for New Zealand

Pat Cummins to be top wicket-taker in first innings

 

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