Australia v New Zealand: Steve Smith wants more new-ball bite from Australia's bowlers

Steve Smith has put the heat on his under-performing bowlers as Australia opt for a four-prong pace attack on a wicket New Zealand believe could favour spin.

Australia's attack lacked penetration against India, particularly with the new ball, and improvement is needed against the World Cup finalists on their home soil.

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Australia captured just four wickets in the opening 10 overs in the five games against India, enabling Virat Kohli's side to pass 300 on all but one occasion. Though Smith's men were able to restrict the damage in the latter overs repeating this on the smaller boundaries in New Zealand will be more difficult.

The return of Josh Hazlewood to the XI will help but John Hastings and Kane Richardson are yet to establish themselves in the international arena. The frontline trio have just 42  ODI caps between them.

Back: Josh Hazlewood.
Back: Josh Hazlewood. Photo: Getty Images

Unlike the last time they played at Eden Park, Australia will not have the firepower of Mitchell Starc to dig them out of the mire. Also out are the retired Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

"We've got quite an inexperienced bowling attack, we've got quite a few that are out," Smith said.


"The guys are learning quickly. I think here we're going to have to be a bit better earlier.

"In Australia we were able to pull the runs back at the back end of the innings. You can do that on bigger grounds like we play in Australia.

"I think here you need to take wickets early on and through the middle overs and stem the flow of runs. That's going to be really crucial for us, making sure we start really well with the ball."

Selectors left out uncapped leg-spinner Adam Zampa though the Kiwis believe the Eden Park wicket has the potential to be a turner.

The pitch for Wednesday is the same strip the Black Caps and Pakistan used on Sunday. The pitch offered enough grip that Pakistan's part-time spinner Azhar Ali, not noted for his turn, was able to twirl a leg-break past the bat of Kane Williamson and have him stumped.

It has prompted the Black Caps to draft a second spinner, leggie Ish Sodhi, to join Mitchell Santner in their squad.

"The wicket the other day was a little bit slow. We're playing on the same pitch and there is potential we'd look to include him if we think the wicket is going to hold up. We wanted that option, the ability to choose the extra spinner if need be," Brendan McCullum said.

"Not too many people get one past Kane so the wicket obviously had a bit more turn than we expected."

While the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy is not the most sought after prize in Australian cricket, it is a big deal across the Tasman. The Kiwis hold the trophy by virtue of their victory in the group game of the World Cup.

"From every fan in New Zealand's point of view and all the guys in the changing room this is certainly one that we've been waiting for," McCullum said.

"And it's a good opportunity to test our skills against the best team in the world in our conditions."