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Australia v New Zealand ODI series: James Faulkner tips scores of 400 at smaller grounds

Australia's besieged bowlers are bracing for another onslaught in New Zealand with predictions scores could soar as high as 400 in Brendon McCullum's farewell one-day international series.

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While the decks are expected to be juicier in the land of the long white cloud, any gains for the bowlers will be offset by the smaller boundaries of New Zealand grounds, which has been a talking point within the Australian camp. If there is no swing, it is shaping as another number-swelling series for batsmen.

Australia's run of seven consecutive ODI series victories is under great peril against a Black Caps side desperate to send off McCullum in style in front of what is expected to be three raucous home crowds.

Run feast: James Faulkner says the smaller boundaries of New Zealand grounds could lead to big scores in the one-day series.
Run feast: James Faulkner says the smaller boundaries of New Zealand grounds could lead to big scores in the one-day series. 

The Black Caps have certainly caught Steve Smith's team at a vulnerable point. Australia have dropped four consecutive games in the past 10 days and the confidence of their bowlers will be shaky after a horror Twenty20 series in which they conceded 572 runs at more than 9.5 an over.

The format is different but the pace personnel are largely the same, with the exception of Josh Hazlewood, who returns after missing the batsman-dominated matches against India. He and all-rounder James Faulkner are the only remaining members of the fast-bowling unit Michael Clarke had at his disposal during last year's World Cup.

Mauled by Virat Kohli, Australia's inexperienced attack now faces another mighty challenge in the form of McCullum and Kane Williamson in Kiwi conditions.

Whereas 300 was once considered a formidable score, in this age of Twenty20, flat tracks, powerful bats and tougher fielding restrictions, it is now seen as only a pass mark.

"Yeah there's no reason why teams can't get 350 or 400," Faulkner said. "A lot of it just comes down to conditions."

The current record for Trans-Tasman one-day matches is 349, set in 2000, long before Twenty20 changed the game. If McCullum or David Warner get going, that record may not survive this series.

"Every team at the moment is setting up to go hard in the first 10, consolidate through the middle and try and have wickets in the shed to try and launch," Faulkner said. "Especially with the smaller boundaries I think if you find the ball isn't moving there will be high scores.

"But if it is it's obviously a lot tougher for the opening batsmen to adjust. More times than not at the moment 300 tends to be the base and every run over that is so valuable because every single batter in most teams can bat these days so it makes it really tough for the bowlers."

So tough that Faulkner, Australia's preferred option with the ball at the death, believes bowlers can concede 10-12 runs an over late in the innings even if they are bowling well.

"So if you're going into the last 10 only two down, if you're not getting 100 plus off that I don't think you've done well enough with the bat," Faulkner said.

"I think every bowler depending on where they're bowling ... will have their own little goals but I think now people aren't really looking at how many runs necessarily, it's about when they are bowling and how successful they are to certain batters at certain times."

New Zealand's smaller grounds is another tick for the batsmen. The straight boundary at Eden Park, scene of Wednesday's opening match, is a mere 55 metres from the centre of the pitch, some 20-30 metres shorter than the MCG, while it's only 45 metres behind the batsman.

"I've heard plenty about the [Eden Park] straight boundaries. That was the main chat on the way over," Australian paceman Kane Richardson said.

"That last series we played in was tough for the bowlers and it's going to be no different here in these three games. Worldwide one-day cricket is high scoring, that's the way it is."