Australia will host New Zealand on Boxing Day in the second of the three Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday.
I’m not sure if the MCG wicket is quite ready yet to host Thursday’s Boxing Day encounter, but what I know for sure is that I’m all geared up waiting to pounce on the match-up should it go ahead as planned. The Perth Test, well, was a decimation, but you know how flat the MCG wicket is, so expect at least 4, if not 5 days of action. Now the stark contrast between the two teams means that opportunities to make money are APLENTY, so I have jotted down three bets from Thursday’s clash that will GUARANTEE winnings by the end of the Test.
Any Australian batsman to score a hundred in the 1st innings @ 1.50
In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me remind you that the wicket that these two teams will be playing on - MCG - is a really really flat one and well, the Aussies are kings when it comes to batting on flat tracks. In fact, in the first innings of the last 5 Boxing Day Tests at the MCG, Australian batsmen have scored a staggering EIGHT (!!) tons. And they’ve started this home season in rollicking fashion, with their batsmen scoring 5 first-inning tons in the three home matches thus far. In the first match of the series, Marnus Labuschagne punished the Kiwis in the first-innings, scoring his third ton in as many Tests. History favours the hosts as well, with them having scored three first-inning tons in the last 3 H2H matches played versus the Kiwis Down Under. Forget home matches, the Aussies just love batting against the Kiwis, having struck 5 first-inning tons in the last 3 H2H games against their rivals. Expect Tim Paine’s men to make hay while the sun shines bright in Melbourne on Thursday.
Australia to have the highest first-innings opening partnership @ 1.57
This is a no-brainer, isn’t it? It’s no rocket science that New Zealand are hopeless when it comes to their opening pair - so much so that they’ve dropped Jeet Raval and drafted in Tom Blundell, who has never opened the batting in his first-class career, as his replacement. Since New Zealand will have a brand new opening pair, there isn’t much to talk about their first-wicket partnership, except for the fact that they’ve put up first-inning opening stands of 1,16 and 18 in their last 3 Tests. So let’s talk about the Aussies. This home season, after being reunited, the duo of Burns/Warner have averaged 90 for the first wicket, including a 200-run partnership. In each of their three Tests this home season, the duo have put on a higher opening stand than their opponents in the first innings, and the trend was the same in the first match of the series as well. In fact, in the two teams’ last 6 H2H matches (where Burns/Warner opened on all six occasions), in the first innings, four times the duo outscored their Kiwi counterparts. In the last 4 H2H matches at home, Warner/Burns have outscored the Kiwi openers thrice, putting on two 100-run stands in the process. Back the glorious duo of Warner and Burns to get the job done without thinking twice.
Steve Smith to score a fifty in the first innings @ 1.83
Now, it’s a known fact that Smith, uncharacteristically, hasn’t been among runs of late, falling prey to the short ball. But does that mean we write him off? Nahhh, we don’t commit such heinous crimes. Believe me when I tell you Steve Smith is GOD at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He is. In 10 innings at the MCG, Smith has scored 816 runs at an average of 136.00. Yes, you read that right. If you filter that down to the 1st innings, his averages increases to 148.00, having scored 3 tons in 6 innings. In fact, since 2015, Smith has been dismissed JUST ONCE at the MCG, and his last 5 scores at the venue read 102*, 76, 165*, 70* and 134*. In fact, the last three times he’s batted in the first innings at the venue, he has amassed scores of 192, 134* and 76. What better venue than the MCG for Australia’s golden boy to regain his ‘lost’ form?