Blackcaps will bat first in Chappell-Hadlee opener vs Australia

Samuel SharpJan 30, 2017

Australia are weakened by the absence of their top three batsmen, David Warner, Usman Khawaja and captain Steve Smith, either for reasons of resting or in Smith's case, injury.

New Zealand's won three of the last four 50 over matches on home soil against the old foe, but lost the trophy 3-nil across the Tasman at the start of the summer. Coming to the teams then Kiwi's have improved their batting line-up than the last time they played Australia, courtesy addition of Ross Taylor and Neil Broom.

Watch the first ODI between New Zealand and Australia from 9.55pm on Sunday, Sky Sports 3. Mitchell Santner, 9. Tim Southee, 10. Josh Hazlewood and big Billy Stanlake complete a strong fast bowling trio for Australia, with James Faulkner and Pat Cummins being two good options at first change.

After being dismissed for cheaply in the World Cup clash in 2015, Australia were bundled out for mere 148 in pursuit of New Zealand's 307 last February on the same drop-in wicket that will be used in the Chappell-Hadlee opener. They are being rested to prepare for the upcoming test series against India. The series is Australia's last hit out before that crux tournament meaning there is plenty of added incentive for players to perform.

The Aussies have struggled with the bat in their past two one-day visits to the ground, rolled for 148 and 151 as New Zealand's quicks have done the damage with the swinging ball.

Shaun Marsh and former T20 captain Aaron Finch have been recalled to national duty and will likely open the innings for Australia. At the same time, New Zealand is also brimming with confidence after its recent success against Bangladesh in all three forms of the game, particularly since the pace attack - led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult - showed signs it was firing in the final Test. "It's a huge series for us, an exciting series for us and playing in front of some big home crowds is going to be really important for us".

Martin Guptill will take strike for the first over, Tom Latham is his partner at the other end.

Tallies of 148 and 151 in Australia's past two visits mean the batsmen have plenty of improving to do, and Starc said there had been team discussions about not surrendering to the siren song of the Eden Park's short boundaries.

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