New Zealand vs Australia – 1st Test Tips and Betting Preview

After opening up with a T20 series, the Australia tour of New Zealand continues with the red ball replacing the white one on Thursday when the two sides meet in Wellington in the first of two Test matches over the next fortnight.

Australia are the World Test Championship holders in this format of the game and never don’t take this format seriously. New Zealand are compelled to give it their all against their nearest rivals so this series is nicely poised.

New Zealand

This will be the second Test series of the home summer for New Zealand but the first in which they take on a full strength side so whether we can take too much from them beating a second string South Africa team remains to be seen. The one thing we do know is that this is going to be a much tougher test for New Zealand but in home conditions and relatively fresh they will expect to put up a decent showing over the two matches.

I think New Zealand have the bowling attack to keep this Australia side honest in these conditions but the acid test will come when it is their turn to bat. They were largely on easy street with the bat against South Africa but things aren’t going to come as easily in this match. New Zealand have won their last five Test matches on this ground and six of their last seven with the other one being a draw. Four of those six wins were by an innings and another was by 10 wickets so this is something of a Kiwi fortress.


Australia head into this series off the back of a surprise series draw with West Indies earlier in the summer so you would imagine they will be intent on making up for that in these two matches. Admittedly the match they came up short in against West Indies was a day-night match where they were on the wrong end of the toss, but they would still have been expected to dominate both of those games. They will probably have expected these two games to be much tougher.

Australia played five matches on home soil this summer and while they won four of them, only once in 10 innings did they go beyond 320 with the bat and you would imagine they will need more runs here if they are going to be successful. Whether they come against a top bowling attack remains to be seen. Australia have been good with the ball all summer and if that doesn’t change here they will give themselves every chance.

Special Offer

Open a new Sporting Index account and bet £10 on the series (min odds 1/2) to get £20 in free bets (2x£10 free bets) to use on any sports market! Click the image below to take advantage of this great offer! 18+ T&Cs apply. Gamble Responsibly.

Team News

New Zealand seamer Neil Wagner has announced that this will be his final series in international cricket but he hasn’t been selected for this opening game. The Kiwis will be without Devon Conway with Will Young coming in for him but Kane Williamson is available after missing the T20s due to the birth of his child.

Australia have named the same XI which lost the last Test against West Indies. That means the experiment of opening the batting with Steve Smith will continue for one more match at least with Cameron Green at number four. Scott Boland misses out.


I’ll take a bit of a watching brief in the opening match of the series and see how both teams perform. My hunch is that New Zealand will be competitive at a venue where they have a wonderful record but their previous history against Australia puts me off getting involved in them and that defeat to West Indies doesn’t exactly get me chasing a bet on Australia down. If Australia do win this one though I think a player performance might well land.

That is the one for Travis Head which looks a little on the low side to me at 80.5. He is quite capable of covering this with the bat alone, especially if he gets two full innings. He looked decent in the T20 matches with the bat in hand and his aggressive approach on a relatively small ground will see runs come quickly, especially if Australia bat second and the pitch has flattened out a bit in that time. The other reason why I like Head to cover is he’ll bowl a few overs to give Nathan Lyon a rest and New Zealand could have three left-handers in their side for him to go at. Head is a decent enough fielder as well so I think over the course of four innings he can reach 81 points. In three Tests against New Zealand he already has a century and a 50 to his name and an innings of that level can see him cruise over the line.


Back T.Head’s Performance – Over 80.5pts for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfair