Comment: Forget history: Taylor, Williamson could be key

Prologue

Him: Can you tell the readers how we beat Australia.

Me: Yeah, no worries. Ummm. Any ideas?

Him: About what?

Me: How we beat Australia.

Him: Get on with it.

[Deadly silence]

Background

New Zealand has beaten Australia eight times in 57 tests. We had Richard Hadlee for six of those.

Danny Morrison and Doug Bracewell played starring roles in the other two wins.

There have also been some brilliant spin-bowling spells. John Bracewell is at the top of the list with his 10-wicket bag at Eden Park in 1986. He shone again at the Basin Reserve in 1990, and Dipak Patel shared the spotlight with Morrison with five second-innings wickets in Auckland in 1993.

Our openers have featured strongly. Glenn Turner scored back-to-back centuries in 1974. Bruce Edgar scored a big ton in 1982, and John Wright made an undefeated 117 in 1990.

Lessons from history

Swing bowling has been critical and we have two excellent exponents in Tim Southee and Trent Boult. They could be very useful with the pink ball under lights during the first test in Perth.

Get rid of David Warner and Steven Smith and suddenly the Australian batting order does not look all that formidable. Early wickets are key. Neil Wagner will take it from there.

But history also teaches us you cannot go into a test series against Australia with a so-so spinner like Mitchell Santner. Leaving the likes of Will Somerville and Ajaz Patel behind might be worth reconsidering.

Best to go with an attack which gives you the best chance of taking 20 wickets and put trust in what is arguably our strongest ever top six.

Australia has a formidable bowling unit, so the opening partnership will be crucial. Jeet Raval has not been in the best form but he is adept at taking the paint off the new ball and there are no good alternatives.

It was not that long ago opener Tom Latham’s spot was questioned and he has repaid the faith with five hundreds in eight tests.

But Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor shape as the key wickets. If they play well, New Zealand’s prospects of a fourth series win (second in Australia) are perhaps better than the long TAB odds.

Conclusion

Take early wickets. Play a proper spinner. Get off to a safe start with the bat.

Epilogue

Anyone know if Paddles has rolled his arm over recently?

 

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