'Flashback preview': Aussies desperate to end losing run
After a humiliating defeat to the Proteas in Sydney, Australia face up to trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in the third ODI of the 1997-98 summer
22 March 2020, 05:14 PM AEST
With the sudden lack of cricket – and sport in general – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re turning back the clock with a classic ODI contest from the archives for fans around the world to enjoy. Viewers will be able to watch every ball of this clash 'live' on cricket.com.au's Facebook page and YouTube channel from 2pm AEDT on Monday, March 23.
Do yourself a favour and avoid the temptation to go searching for old scorecards and reports, but please allow us to set the scene…
Australia v New Zealand, Adelaide Oval, December 7, 1997 (third match of the 1997-98 tri-series)
The form lines (past five matches – most recent first)
Australia: L, L, L, L, L
The Aussies have endured a horror stretch in the 50-over format, losing to South Africa in Sydney just a few days ago and prior to that enduring the indignity of a three-nil series defeat to England in May. The five-match losing sequence began with a dead-rubber defeat to South Africa in April (a series Australia won 4-3), and worryingly for new captain Steve Waugh, it is their second such streak since last year's World Cup final defeat to Sri Lanka.
New Zealand: W, W, L, T, L
The Kiwis kick-started this tri-series with a highly-impressive 47-run win over South Africa at the Adelaide Oval in the first-ever day-night affair at the venue, where they will again turn out for this clash with the Australians. In October, they played out a competitive three-match series with Zimbabwe in Bulawayo and Harare, tasting all three possible outcomes – a win, loss and tie – while in May they suffered a 52-run defeat to world champs Sri Lanka in Hyderabad.
The talking points
Can generation next deliver for the Aussies?
With Australia having clearly gone down the path of splitting the personnel of their Test and one-day sides, the ODI careers of Test skipper Mark Taylor and wicketkeeper Ian Healy look to have run their course. So who is best suited to replace them? Tasmania opener Michael Di Venuto was a star of last summer's Mercantile Mutual Cup, hammering 274 runs in five matches at the blistering strike-rate of 96.81. Those performances earned him an ODI debut in South Africa, where in his fourth match, he struck a match-winning 89 against the Proteas. But after falling for one in the series opener in Sydney two days ago, Di Venuto knows he still has to prove himself in front of the home fans – and the jury remains out on whether or not he can become Mark Waugh's permanent partner atop Australia's ODI order.
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Warriors 'keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist looks likely to get an extended run in Australia's middle order after impressing in five ODIs this year as a specialist batsman (209 runs @ 52.25, SR 97.20). It is more than 18 months since Gilchrist stunned Australian cricket with a blistering 189no (187 balls) for WA in the final of the Sheffield Shield, and while the big-hitting left-hander is yet to register a List A hundred, it appears only a matter of time until he does.
Is teenage spinner Vettori the real deal?
New Zealand gamely handed an ODI debut to a bespectacled teenage spinner named Daniel Vettori in March, and after collecting just one wicket in his first three appearances, the left-arm orthodox bowler took 3-41 against Zimbabwe to perhaps shore up his place for this tour of Australia. In three Tests, he took six wickets and bowled with impressive control (albeit he was at one point dispatched onto the roof of the WACA Ground's Lillee-Marsh Stand by Mark Waugh) though it remains to be seen if he can contain and penetrate in the 50-over format. Interestingly, Vettori was deemed surplus to bowling requirements by skipper Stephen Fleming tonight as the Kiwis bowled South Africa out for 177. If the 18-year-old gets a bowl tomorrow, he will be conscious of getting his lengths right given Adelaide's short square boundaries, and against an Australian side that will be keen to put him under pressure.
The players to watch
It is a year since Shane Warne became the fastest spin bowler in history to 100 ODI wickets (60 matches) and Australia's king of spin has shown little sign of slowing down; he has collected another 28 wickets in 17 matches since including a career-best 5-33 against the West Indies. Warne was in sparkling form in the three-Test series against New Zealand, taking 19 wickets, and looks likely to again be a decisive figure in this ODI tri-series.
Big-hitting allrounder Chris Cairns can be devastating on his day with either bat or ball, and the 27-year-old was a key cog in New Zealand's win over South Africa tonight, striking 55 from 54 balls and taking 2-29 with his lively right-armers. Against Australia however, he is averaging 21 with the bat and 77 with the ball – alarming numbers he will need to rectify if he is to have an impact in this series.
Only Sachin Tendulkar and Aravinda de Silva have hit more hundreds than Mark Waugh since the beginning of last year's World Cup, with the silky right-hander averaging 51.65 since his permanent move to the top of the Australian batting order. The 'Junior' Waugh has been his country's standout ODI batsman in that time and after top-scoring with 45 in the series opener in Sydney, looks well placed for a significant contribution in Adelaide tomorrow.
New Zealand look to have unearthed an exciting prospect in hard-hitting allrounder Craig McMillan. The 21-year-old made a mature 86 and claimed the wicket of Shaun Pollock to be man of the match in Adelaide today, and after debuting for his country in May, could quickly become a key cog in the middle order for Fleming's side.
Australia's middle-order maestro Michael Bevan is averaging 55.08 after 60 ODIs and this year added a maiden century to his growing list of credentials as one of the contemporary game's finest finishers – both in terms of setting and chasing totals. Bevan added a second ODI hundred in England and has firmly established himself as one of Australia's most reliable performers.
Australia XI (very likely): Mark Waugh, Michael Di Venuto, Adam Gilchrist, Greg Blewett, Ian Harvey, Steve Waugh (c), Michael Bevan, Shane Warne, Andy Bichel, Adam Dale, Glenn McGrath
New Zealand XI (quite sure): Matt Horne, Nathan Astle, Stephen Fleming (c), Craig McMillan, Chris Cairns, Adam Parore, Roger Twose, Chris Harris, Gavin Larsen, Daniel Vettori, Shayne O'Connor
Don't forget to tune in 'live' to this classic ODI via our Facebook page and YouTube channel from 2pm AEDT on Monday, March 23.