New Zealand vs Australia: 1st Test Preview & Betting Tips

Australia will take on New Zealand in a two match Test series starting this Thursday morning from Wellington. We have you covered with a full preview and betting tips for the 1st Test below. 

New Zealand vs Australia 1st Test Betting Tips

Wellington, Thursday 29th February, 9.00am (AEDT)

Australia kicked off their tour of New Zealand with a dominant performance in the three match T20 series, winning all three games, the last two in pretty dominant fashion. The red-ball portion of the tour will commence on Thursday in Wellington before Christchurch hosts the 2nd Test next week. 

New Zealand

Big news out of the Kiwi camp on the eve of the series as paceman Neil Wagner called time on his international career after not being selected in the XI to take on Australia in the 1st Test. Wagner has been in and out of the Test squad in recent times, so the writing was on the wall for the left-armer, but New Zealand is holding fire on naming the fourth paceman in their squad. Matt Henry, Tim Southee and William O’Rourke will make up the pace bowling contingent for the opener, as Kle Jamieson is sidelined with injury. 

The batting will get a bit of a shake-up for the 1st Test as stalwart opener Devon Conway will miss with the thumb injury. Tom Latham will likely open the batting with Will Young, while dynamic duo Kane Williamson and Rachin Ravindra take their place at three and four respectively. Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell, Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner will likely claim the rest of the spots in what is a very deep batting line-up.

New Zealand Predicted XI: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Tim Southee (c), Will O’Rourke


There was some speculation surrounding the Australian pace attack in the lead up to this series and whether or not one or more of the standard three quicks would get a rest throughout this series. The Aussie selectors put that question to bed, for the 1st Test at least, when they announced their playing XI early. Scott Boland and Michael Neser are in the squad for the two Tests, so either or both could chop out Starc or Hazlewood in the 2nd game. 

The batting line-up doesn’t require much speculation, as Steve Smith is set to reprise his role at the top of the order and Cameron Green to remain at No.4. This will be a real test for Smith away from home in New Zealand, where the new ball is conducive to big swing. 

Australia Playing XI: Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitch Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

Betting Tips

While it was a positive summer all around for Australia, winning four of their five Tests against Pakistan and the West Indies, I think this new look Aussie outfit is still incredibly unproven, particularly Smith at the top of the order. They relied on their star bowling unit to get the job done in the 1st Test against the West Indies but their struggles with the bat came to the fore in the 2nd Test, being bowled out for 289 and 207. 

This New Zealand team is in some great form at the moment, having won six of their last seven Tests and they currently sit in top spot on the World Test Championship standings. Batting has been a weakness of their duels with Australia in the past but their batting can’t really be faltered at the moment with Rachin Ravindra filling a massive hole left by Ross Taylor in the top order. 

On home soil, I think the Kiwis are great value here. 


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