Ed Hawkins previews game one from the SCG in the early hours of Friday and senses a shock.
"Ferguson is fit again after injuring a calf in Australia was magnificent in the World Cup while Jamieson's pace, bounce and all-round abilities have the Kiwis beside themselves"
Australia v New Zealand
Friday 13 March, 03:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Australia have only had four days to prepare for this three-match series following their whitewash in South Africa. It could be just as well not to dwell on a truly awful performance.
The Aussies went off skeletal favourites in each of the three contests against a depleted South Africa and they produced horrible efforts. It exposed their difficulty in chasing totals away from home and the importance of Glenn Maxwell, who balances their XI. Maxwell is still injured.
One bright spot was D'Arcy Short, who adapted superbly to an unfamiliar middle-order role but Australia's long-term issue with accelerating towards the end of an innings means that if David Warner and Aaron Finch do not get off to a flyer, they're in trouble..
Possible XI Warner, Finch, Smith, Labuschagne, M Marsh, Short, Carey, Agar, Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood, K Richardson
New Zealand bowling superb
New Zealand, buoyed by their whitewash of India and with revenge in their hearts after a horrible show in the Tests in Australia, are an enticing prospect for the series.
Chiefly because of their bowling strength. The 'old guard' of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Matt Henry are joined by Lockie Ferguson and Kyle Jamieson. Ferguson is fit again after injuring a calf in Australia was magnificent in the World Cup while Jamieson's pace, bounce and all-round abilities have the Kiwis beside themselves.
Once again, everything relies on the form of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham in that middle order. The opening partnership of Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill has work to do.
Probable XI Guptill, Nicholls, Williamson, Taylor, Latham, De Grandhomme, Santner, Southee, Jamieson, Ferguson, Boult
Bat first, go big
This contest is under lights but there should be no panic about the toss in terms of the white ball doing too much or dew factor. In the last 19 it is pretty even with ten won by the chaser.
In all conditions, the last ten first-innings scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 288-1/302-1/353-1/324-1/330-2/328-1/133-2/111-2/376-1/408-1.
That heavy bias for the side batting first means that it would be a major surprise if the captain winning the toss did not bat first and take the opportunity to post 300. Backing scores of upwards of 300 on the innings runs market seems sensible.
Australia are 1.618/13 with New Zealand 2.506/4. The price about the hosts is hardly likely to prove popular considering their form in South Africa.
More so if New Zealand win the toss and bat. With their superb bowling attack they will fancy their chances of putting a squeeze on Australia in a chase. It's six wins in 18 on the road and one in their last four at home when fielding first.
It's rudimentary, then, to consider the Kiwis as the wager if the flip goes their way. At the least we expect them to trade as jollies.
Cricket...Only Bettor: How do the analysts influence the action in-game?
Warner loves SCG
Warner has passed fifty seven times in 13 innings at the SCG, including three centuries. Sportsbook make him 13/5 favourite for top Aussie bat. Steve Smith has 626 runs in 11 but there's no little other evidence he should be as short as 11/4. Finch is 16/5 and his 317 runs in ten innings is poor by comparison.
For New Zealand, Williamson is the 13/5 favourite followed by Guptill and Nicholls at 11/4 and 7/2. Guptill boasts the best runs per innings average against Australia (37). Williamson has a mark of 34 and Taylor 30. Taylor is underrated at 5/1.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
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Back New Zealand batting first 2.506/4 (2pts)