Australia and New Zealand are set to resume their Test rivalry Downunder after a gap of four years. A battle within the battle is on the cards as Steve Smith and Kane Williamson go head to head. On the bowling front, Mitchell Starc will be in action while Trent Boult’s place is in doubt as he nurses a side strain. We look to answer all your questions and help you pick your fantasy cricket team for the first Test between Australia and New Zealand.
The two teams carry a good form into the series. Australia thrashed Pakistan 2-0 and New Zealand beat a much stronger England 1-0 before this series. In the last five Tests between these two sides, Australia held the upper hand by winning four of these encounters while one ended in a draw.
The first Test between the sides in this series is a day-night encounter at the Perth cricket stadium. The only day-night Test between these two teams in 2015 was a low scoring affair that ended in three days. Australia won that match by three wickets while chasing 187. Josh Hazlewood scalped nine wickets and Trent Boult took seven as none of the batsmen reached three figures.
Pitch Report and Weather
The weather is expected to be clear throughout the five days of the match. The afternoon session can be taxing for the bowlers as the temperature is expected to touch the 39-degree mark.
There has been only one Test played at the Perth Stadium so far. The Test between India and Australia in 2018 was a competitive encounter. The pitch was helpful for both pacers and spinners while being good for batting. Virat Kohli scored a gritty hundred while Mohammad Shami and Nathan Lyon took a fifer each.
While pacers have taken more wickets than spinners, the frequency of picking a wicket has been nearly similar for both. However, the choice of spinners will be very limited, as both teams will most likely field only one spinner each.
Day-night Tests provide an advantage for the pacers, especially under lights. The two teams have a host of right and left-arm pacers in their armoury. Left-arm pacers have been the most effective breed at this venue. They have picked up a wicket in every 50 balls. The right arm-pacers are not far behind with 52.9 balls per wicket
A combination of five frontline batsman including the wicket-keeper, one all-rounder, one spinner and four-seamers might be an ideal make of your side. Here is my fantasy team for the upcoming encounter between Australia and New Zealand.
Team: BJ Watling (wk), Kane Williamson (vc), Steve Smith, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Starc (c), Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Neil Wagner, Lockie Ferguson
Mitchell Starc is the leading wicket-taker in day-night Tests. His ability to move the pink ball is similar to what he displays with the white ball. He has taken 33 wickets at a strike-rate of 39.5 balls per wicket in day-night Tests. Moreover, Starc’s strike-rate improves to 28.5 against left-handed batsmen in day-night Tests. With four left-handed New Zealand batsmen among the top-7, Starc can be a very good choice for captaincy in your fantasy XI.
Our first X-factor is Marnus Labuschagne. He is the leading run-scorer in Tests in 2019. Batting at three for Australia, he has scored 910 runs in Tests so far at an average of 53.5. In the peak of his form, he has scored two hundreds in the last two Tests. His ability to counter swing makes him a perfect option for your team in a day-night Test.
Our second x-factor is the Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson. A consistent member of the fab four, he among the only three batsmen with a Test average of above 60 since 2018. His 1108 runs in 20 innings since 2018 have included nine 50+ scores. Likely to lead from the front, Williamson should be a sure choice in your fantasy XI.
Our third X-factor is Pat Cummins. The number 1 Test bowler in the world is in red-hot form. He has picked 95 wickets in 35 innings since 2018. Moreover, he has exceptional numbers in day-night Tests. In three such Tests, he has taken 16 wickets at mere 38.7 balls per wicket. His consistent wicket-taking ability makes him an ideal choice in your XI.
These players may play a crucial role in today’s game, so choose your team wisely. However, as we always say, visit cricket.com and go to the Criclytics section to find key stats, player score and match projections, matchups between players and choose your team after doing your own research. In addition, log on to fanfight.com or download the app and start playing fantasy cricket. Good Luck!