Australia will be looking to wrap up a 3-0 series win versus Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Day 4 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.
New Zealand are always known for throwing surprises and in this series versus Australia, they ended up throwing the ultimate surprise, albeit a very unpleasant one, by somehow managing to perform worse than Pakistan did. This is as bad a performance as I can remember from a visiting side touring Australia and after getting bundled out for a modest 1st innings total yet again, it now feels like a mere formality before Australia wrap up the series. Anyway, we don’t care about that, do we? All we need to be worried about is making cash and well, I have three tremendous bets from Day 4 that’ll make us so much more richer before this series comes to an end.
After averaging 115 for the first wicket in the Pakistan series, Joe Burns and David Warner were expected to set the stage ablaze in this series versus New Zealand. But well, things haven’t gone according to plan for the duo. In 5 innings this series, they’ve only notched up a single fifty-run partnership. They’ve just averaged 37.2 for the first wicket and to be honest, both the openers have been way below par in a series that has given good batting pitches. So, at 40/0 overnight, why do I think they won’t score more than 75 for the first wicket? First things first, their highest partnership in this series has been 62; none beyond that. On top of that, Australia have struggled big time on early-morning restarts this series. On 4 occasions when they’ve restarted in the morning, they’ve averaged just 31. In fact, in this Test, when they started on the morning of Day 2, they were able to add just 5 runs to their overnight tally before losing a wicket. With early morning expected to be the best conditions for the pacers and with both Burns and Warner down on confidence, it seems pretty straightforward to me that one of them will throw their wicket away before the score crosses 75.
After having a startling start to the home summer, scoring 97 in his very first innings against Pakistan at the Gabba, things have been pretty much all downhill for Joe Burns. Since the 97, his scores read: 4, 9, 53, 0, 35 and 18, averaging just 19.83 in the six innings that followed it. And in this series, he’s managed to score just 131 runs from 6 innings, averaging a mere 26.20. Now, he did manage to score a fifty in the second innings in Perth, but let me tell you why that was nothing but a one-off. The last 7 times Burns has batted in the 2nd innings, he’s crossed the 50-run mark just once and has averaged just 24.28. In the first innings of this match, he was dismissed for just 18 off the bowling of Colin de Grandhomme, and frankly speaking, despite now batting on 16*, he’s looked really shaky. Burns has passed the 45-run mark just once this series and with Australia needing to push for quick runs in the morning of Day 4, I expect the count to remain the same.
A bet that can give you 5.50 the returns? That’s enticing, isn’t it? And the best thing about this is that it’s almost certainly going to come true. Just like how Australia unearthed Marnus Labuschagne accidentally, New Zealand might have found their own Marnus in the form of Tom Blundell, who, after having filled in as an opener in the MCG Test, made the spot his own by scoring an impeccable ton. In his relatively young career of just 3 Tests, Blundell has already struck two tons and averages an astonishing 68.00. And in the second Test at the MCG, coming in to bat in a similar hopeless situation, the right-hander took the Aussie bowling apart, striking an immaculate 121; on Day 4, he will be up against the same opposition under similar circumstances. He didn’t quite fire in the first innings, scoring 34, but was still the third-highest run getter off the innings. But interestingly, despite having played just 3 innings, Blundell is the Kiwis’ highest run-getter this series, with 171 runs to his name at an average of 56.6. On this relatively flat Sydney wicket that looks like a stroke-maker’s paradise, Blundell should definitely love batting in the 2nd innings and thus it seems inevitable that we will yet another special knock from this kid from Wellington.