Cricket Article

Australia v New Zealand live & preview 3rd ODI at Melbourne

Australia v New Zealand live & preview 3rd ODI at Melbourne Photo: TT

Australia and New Zealand face each other in the third and final ODI of their short series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday, with the Australians holding a winning 2-0 lead after victories at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) by 68 runs, followed by a second success at the Manuka Oval in Canberra by 116-runs.

Since Darren Lehmann became Australian coach, the Baggy Green Caps have now won 25 ODI’s on home soil, while losing just four times. As well as picking up the World Cup at the MCG in 2015, they have won all five series in their country under the guidance of Lehmann.

The Australian batting line up has been in ominous form during the first two matches, with opener David Warner posting a century in Canberra, which was his sixth ODI century of 2016, while skipper Steve Smith added a half century in Canberra to the century he had scored at the SCG.

Travis Head has justified his inclusion with two half centuries, and Mitchell Marsh who was dropped from the Test side, struck 76 from just 40 balls in the second fixture.

While the hosts have bounced back from the Test series defeat to South Africa, showing typical dogged determination to succeed, and a will to consolidate their position as the ICC’s No.1 ranked ODI side, the tourists have struggled to compensate for the leading players that no longer populate their starting XI.

From the side that faced Australia in last year’s World Cup, the Black Caps are missing the retired Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori and Grant Elliott. While Ross Taylor, Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan and Corey Anderson would all have been on the current tour, but for injury.

Whatever the outcome on Friday, the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy will return to Australia’s possession, at least until they meet again, as soon as next February in New Zealand.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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