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Australia look to seal series against NZ

CANBERRA: Australia will be aiming to regain the Chappell-Hadlee trophy with a victory in the second game of the series at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Tuesday.

After some initial wobbles, Steve Smith, the Australian captain, starred in the home side’s overwhelming victory in the opening match in Sydney on Sunday. It ended a five-game One-Day International (ODI) losing streak for Australia and ensured they remain the No.1 ranked team in the world.

Smith found good support in the middle order through youngster Travis Head (a career-best 52) and explosive wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (38 from 22 balls). Josh Hazelwood (3 for 49) led a balanced Australian attack with injury-prone speedster Pat Cummins shrugging off some initial sluggishness to claim a couple of late wickets in his long-awaited return to international career.

Adam Zampa, the legspinner, also impressed as the match wore on to ensure Smith would have been well pleased with a few of the youngsters showing good signs. It bodes well for Australia, who are undergoing a transition and aren’t quite the impregnable powerhouse they have been in ODI cricket. Nonetheless, as they proved in Sydney, Australia remain tough to beat in the 50-over format.

Amid an arduous schedule, Australia will be hoping to wrap up the series in Canberra in a bid to rest key players before the upcoming Test series against Pakistan starting on December 15. Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc are likely to be rested for the series finale in Melbourne if it is a dead rubber.

Meanwhile, New Zealand will be aiming to ensure the series remains alive with a more complete performance after a ragged effort in game one. The visitors had Australia on the ropes early but squandered the initiative with grasped chances and head-scratching moments, including bizarrely not reviewing an lbw decision early in Smith’s innings, which would have been overturned.

Despite all of that, at various stages during the match with bat and ball, New Zealand showed they have enough firepower and depth to seriously challenge Australia. If they can harness their obvious talents, the second ODI should be a much closer contest.

Adding to the intrigue, it the first ever Chappell-Hadlee encounter at the Manuka Oval.

Teams (from):

Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Aaron Finch, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Hilton Cartwright, Mitchell Starc, John Hazelwood, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner Colin Munro, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Todd Astle, Matt Henry.

courtesy: dawn news

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