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26-Mar-2010 17:05:00 GMT
New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton

Aussies Looks End Season With Whitewash

Hamilton: Australia's tour of New Zealand will draw to a close at Seddon Park in Hamilton, the venue for the Second Test starting on Saturday.

With Shane Watson responding well to treatment for a hip injury which caused him to miss the First Test, it's likely that Phil Hughes, Watson's replacement for Wellington, will need to step aside.

Hughes gave a glimpse of his special talents with a dazzling unbeaten 86 from 75 balls-faced in the second innings of Australia's 10-wicket win at the Basin Reserve.

At another time, in other circumstances, he could mount a case to be retained, but not now at the expense of Watson who has a sackful of credits - and an Allan Border Medal - in the bank.

Australian batting coach Justin Langer has forecast a move down the order for Hughes, but there are no obvious vacancies there at the moment, either.

Two of the incumbents, Michael Clarke and Marcus North responded with class to mounting external pressure in the build-up to Wellington.

They were probably entitled to offer their critics two fingers.

Bolstered by Ryan Harris who claimed match figures of 6-119 on debut, the Australian attack is potent, well-balanced and firing on all cylinders.

The only case for a change would be if Harris or Doug Bollinger are exhausted from toiling into a Wellington gale in successive innings after Ricky Ponting enforced the follow-on.

The hosts have called-up teenage all-rounder Kane Williamson as a replacement for Daryl Tuffey who suffered a broken hand when struck a nasty blow by Mitchell Johnson in the second innings in Wellington.

Williamson has made 588 runs at 53.45 in the Plunket Shield this season, the majority of them at Seddon Park, his home ground.

The 19-year-old's case for a Test debut is strong considering only one of the Black Caps' specialist batsmen, Tim McIntosh, held his own in Wellington.

Brendon McCullum and skipper Daniel Vettori can always be relied upon but their primary roles, after all, are not with the bat, but with gloves and ball.

Squad members Matthew Sinclair and off-spinner Jeetan Patel who missed out in Wellington must fancy their prospects for inclusion in Hamilton.

New Zealand has hosted Australia just once in a Test match at Seddon Park, in the summer of 1999-2000.

With an unbeaten 122 in the second innings, Langer guided the visitors to a six-wicket victory.

There are showers likely in the lead-up to the match, but fine, cloudy conditions with top temperatures in the low 20s are forecast for the first three days with the occasional shower on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Team news

New Zealand's
line-up is not quite so settled. Vettori said Jeetan Patel would play, while the teenager Kane Williamson was unlikely to make his debut. That would mean only one question remaining - Mathew Sinclair or Peter Ingram at No. 3? Ingram's lack of success during the series so far could mean a recall for Sinclair, who has the support of the batting coach Martin Crowe.

Squad (likely): Tim McIntosh, BJ Watling, Mathew Sinclair, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Daniel Vettori (capt), Brendon McCullum (wk), Jeetan Patel, Tim Southee, Brent Arnel, Chris Martin.

Australia: The Watson-Hughes swap is the only likely change for Australia. Marcus North eased doubts over his place with a century in the first Test and Ryan Harris' six wickets on debut means he will stay ahead of Clint McKay in the pace pecking order.

Squad (likely): Shane Watson, Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Marcus North, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Doug Bollinger.

Pitch and conditions
Two days out from the Test there was a lot of grass on the pitch and the outfield was moist but Vettori expected good playing conditions. "It's still quite dry," he said. "The greenness is probably misrepresenting the wicket. It may be a tough first session but I think it will get lower and slower as the game goes on." The forecast for the first day is fine and 24C.

Stats and trivia

  • Australia and New Zealand have met only once in a Test match at Hamilton, back in 1999-2000 when Australia won by six wickets. The only man from either squad who took part in that match was Mathew Sinclair
  • This match will be Daniel Vettori's 100th Test, while Simon Katich and Michael Hussey are each playing their 50th
  • Two of Vettori's five Test centuries have been scored at Seddon Park, where his Test batting average is 43.25

Match facts
March 27-31, 2010
Start time 11:00 local (22:00 GMT prev day)

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