Aussies warn of fiery clash

WELLINGTON. — Australia have warned of a “fiery clash” in the first Test cricket against New Zealand starting in Wellington tomorrow as tensions continue to simmer over the bizarre ODI dismissal of Mitchell Marsh.

Australian captain Steve Smith, who was clearly annoyed at the way Marsh was given out in the third one-day international on Monday, has diplomatically said there was no lasting animosity.

But Australian quick John Hastings gave a blunt warning yesterday that relations remained strained between the two sides and there would be fireworks, and not just to celebrate New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum’s 100th Test.

It will be “a nice fiery clash, I’m sure there will be plenty on it,” Hastings said as the players took a look at the green Test wicket that offers venom for the quick bowlers.

“They (New Zealand) want to be the ‘big spirit of cricket’ in the ICC, but when it comes down to it, with a big series on the line, you’re obviously going to take that one aren’t you?”

Marsh was given out after a vociferous crowd reaction to replays on the big screen at the ground brought the umpire’s attention to the caught and bowled dismissal.

The replays showed the ball had rebounded off Marsh’s boot and not the ground to be caught by bowler Matt Henry and the batsman was given out.

The loss of the wicket started an Australian collapse that gave New Zealand the game by 55 runs and the series 2-1.

Both sides struggled in the middle order with their batting, but New Zealand go into the Test with their tails up after their overall success.

“I think we just take a bit of confidence,” coach Mike Hesson said.

“Knowing that if we’re able to put Australia under pressure from a batting point of view then that can create opportunities for us.”

The Basin Reserve offers a typical New Zealand green wicket for the first Test, but David Warner expected that would matter less than the swing movement offered by the atmosphere to New Zealand strike bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

“The ball will swing for a lot longer than what it does in Australia,” Warner said.

“Looking at the wicket here it looks nice and green, but that’s irrelevant. I don’t think the ball will do much off the wicket.

“It will swing around a lot, and obviously with two world-class swing bowlers in the attack it’s going to be a challenge for us guys at the top of the order.”

Australia still have nightmares of the Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last year when they failed to cope with the swing and were all out for 60 in their first innings.

“Look at Trent Bridge, it was swinging around, you don’t want those memories back again. We just have to adapt to whatever we face on game day,” Warner said.

The last time Australia played at the Basin Reserve, in 2010, they won by 10 wickets. New Zealand last played at the Basin a year ago and beat Sri Lanka by 193 runs. In a drawn Test against India the previous year, McCullum hit his career best 302, the only triple century scored by a New Zealander. — AFP.

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