Australia kept alive their hopes of finishing the home summer unbeaten, as a 71-run win over New Zealand started the Chappell–Hadlee series inside an empty SCG, which also hosts the second match of the series on Sunday.
Playing behind closed doors, both teams struggled to get a lift on Friday. The dry pitch didn’t help either and the action on the field wasn’t inspiring. Regardless, Australia are just one win away from closing out a successful home summer and confirming their comeback as a top side.
It was a tricky, slow pitch in the first ODI although Australia breezed to a 124/0 start. However, a mini-collapse in the middle pushed them to a lower-than-expected score. In the end, fifties from Aaron Finch, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne were enough to lead them over the line. There was enough from the Aussie fast bowlers to make the score look a mountain.
With the same pitch set to be used for the second time in three days, Australia might consider bringing in Ashton Agar. That could make the Aussies look more potent and start this game as heavy favourites.
New Zealand had few positive things emerging out of the first ODI loss – namely Mitchell Santner’s bowling and a calm start to the chase. However, Martin Guptill couldn’t convert his slow start into something substantial as the chase fizzled out around him.
The Kiwis will hope that their senior pros Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson come to the party. New Zealand have a very poor record against their neighbours and that seems to weigh heavily around this visiting unit.
Australia enjoyed a return back to home conditions, although the absence of crowd support nullified their advantage significantly. Regardless, Australia seem to have an upper hand with their squad better suited for the conditions. New Zealand need better performances from their batsmen to have even a semblance of chance to keep the series alive until the third ODI in Hobart. On current form, though, that looks unlikely.
History & Statistics
- Australia have won 12 of their last 14 completed ODIs at the SCG, including the last five.
- New Zealand have lost nine of their last 12 away ODIs, excluding a tied match.
- New Zealand have lost their last seven completed away H2H ODIs, since their last win in February 2009.
- New Zealand have lost 12 of their last 14 completed ODIs at the SCG against Australia, including losing their last five completed ODIs.
With the pitch set to aid spin, Adam Zampa could be key to Australia’s chances. He has already shown in the first ODI what he can do, with the ‘magic delivery’ to dismiss Kane Williamson.
Slow starts is not what you associate with Marin Guptill, but an innings of 40 off 73 balls in the first match was a tribute to how difficult the pitch was for batting. Will he change gears in the second match?