NZ hopes for improved performance in return series

New Zealand was confident to put up a stronger performance against Australia than last month in the home leg of a One-Day International series for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

Mike Hesson..."Playing in front of some big home crowds is going to be really important for us."   -  Getty Images

New Zealand will seek revenge against an understrength Australia in the one-day series beginning in Auckland on Monday after a >whitewash in the return fixture last year. Australia dominated the Black Caps 3-0 to hoist the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in December and coach Mike Hesson said his team was keen to make amends on home soil.

“We only played them a short time ago and we weren’t at our best. We probably didn’t have the resources that we’ve got available now,” he said. “It’s a huge series for us, an exciting series for us and playing in front of some big home crowds is going to be really important for us.”

Australia’s top priority at the moment is the upcoming tour of India, where it has not won a Test since 2004, and it has rested vice-captain David Warner and batsman Usman Khawaja for the New Zealand series. Captain Steve Smith is >also out with an ankle injury , forcing wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to don the skipper’s armband and leading to youngster Sam Heazlett’s call-up.

New Zealand will not miss Warner in particular, who was its chief tormenter in the December series, amassing 299 runs at 99.66 from the three matches. Australia, the world’s top ranked ODI team, has added Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh to the batting to face New Zealand, which is ranked fourth.

The Australians are coming off a >4-1 series win over Pakistan and, while it appears a weakened side on paper, Hesson said it could not be underestimated. “They’ve still got plenty of good players,” he said. But Hesson said the host was buoyed by its own recent success against Bangladesh in all three forms of the game, particularly since its pace attack finally showed signs it was firing in the final Test.

New Zealand also has a stronger batting line-up than the last time it played Australia thanks to the introduction of Ross Taylor and Neil Broom. The classy Taylor missed the last series due to eye surgery while Broom has impressed since being recalled against Bangladesh after six years in the wilderness. The second ODI will be in Napier on Thursday, with the third in Hamilton on Sunday.

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