If you think the Chappell-Hadlee Series has lost its lustre, think again. Ricky Ponting has “a score to settle” after Australia were defeated 3-0 last time and wants his best outfit firing for the three-match competition which starts in Adelaide on Friday.
Ponting, who says the series is “pretty big for us”, is desperate to get his hands back on the trophy. “New Zealand completely outplayed us last time and thoroughly deserved the result,” Ponting, who missed the contests to prepare for the World Cup, said. “We have got a bit of a score to settle, there’s no doubt about it.
“We want to make sure we’ve got the trophies we play for back in the cabinet in Melbourne. This is one we haven’t got.”
Australia have delayed naming their team until Friday morning after question marks over Brett Lee, who missed practice with a virus, and Andrew Symonds’ ankle, although both should be ready. Ponting “decided to play the cautious card” with Lee, who did not train, while he rated Symonds’ chances of playing “at 95%” after he completed a practice session.
Both are key men, and Australia will be particularly keen for Lee to join Shaun Tait after they were too quick for New Zealand in the Twenty20 on Tuesday. Ponting, who put his feet up for that game, liked what he saw.
“I was really impressed with how they hussled and had a lot of energy and intent in the field,” he said. “That’s something we pride ourselves on, the Australian team, making sure we’re like that and up for every contest that’s on.”
Ponting said it was likely they would bring in a spinner, in which case Brad Hogg will get the nod. “There will be a tough decision to be made if Brett’s fit,” he said, “probably on which of the fast bowlers we do leave out.” The allrounder James Hopes impressed Ponting with his flexibility in the India series and is tipped to play.
While Australia’s fast men are going great guns, New Zealand may choose two spinners again, like they did in Perth. “It’s always an option,” the captain Daniel Vettori said. “Jeetan Patel’s a very good bowler, so any time we can get him in the team we try to, but we will assess the wicket and go from there.”
Although Vettori said it was difficult to come off a losing series in South Africa, he was happy with the squad’s well-being. “I feel like everyone is in a pretty good space,” he said. “We picked up a little bit of momentum in the last part of the South African tour and we are trying to translate it here.”
New Zealand narrowly lost the one-dayers and will be keen to retain the trophy they won so comfortably in February. “The guys have had a chance to regroup with their wives and partners and Australia is a pretty familiar place to us,” Vettori said. “They’ve put the losses behind them and hopefully it’s a fresh start leading into this series, so hopefully we will have some confidence from here.”
Their batsmen may have struggled against the quick bowlers, but their bowlers did a good job, particularly Kyle Mills, who deputised for the injured Shane Bond and is on hand to do so again. Stephen Fleming, who led them to their last Chappell-Hadlee success, may not be here this time around, but is always on hand to lend advice.
“I can turn to him any time I want,” Vettori said, adding that Fleming had given some tips on how to bowl to the opposing batsmen. With Ponting and Matthew Hayden boosting the Twenty20 squad, New Zealand might need them.
Australia (probable) Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, James Hopes, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson.
New Zealand (probable) Lou Vincent, Brendon McCullum (wk), Jamie How, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Mathew Sinclair, Jacob Oram, Kyle Mills, Daniel Vettori (capt), Mark Gillespie, Jeetan Patel.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Australia, Chappell Hadlee Trophy, Daniel Vettori, New Zealand, Ricky Ponting
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, December 14th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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