STEVEN Smith’s official debut as the Australian Test cricket captain could hardly have gone better.
The Aussies opened the summer in imperious fashion, pummelling New Zealand by 208 runs as they maintained their 27-year undefeated streak at Brisbane.
It all started with an explosive batting performance on day one, as David Warner (163) and Joe Burns (71) knocked an out-of-sorts Kiwi bowling attack off its lines from the get-go.
Their early work was supplemented by a classy 174 from the returning Usman Khawaja – our big $6.50 tip at WilliamHill.com to top score in Australia’s first innings.
Chasing 556, the Black Caps made an assured start before some lethal spells from Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc either side of stumps on day two saw them bundled out for 317.
It would have been much worse were it not for our Kiwi top-scorer tip, Kane Williamson ($4 at CrownBet.com), who put together a brilliant 140 while the batting order collapsed around him.
The second innings saw Warner and Burns pick up where they left off, each smashing hundreds before rain delays forced Smith to declare overnight after day three at four for 264.
That left the visitors needing to bat out two days in pursuit of a monumental target of 504 – a task which would prove well beyond them, despite spirited displays from Williamson (59) and Brendon McCullum (80).
Smith was pleased yet restrained when assessing his charges’ all-round display.
“I thought it was a polished performance,” the Australian skipper told ABC Radio.
“All the batters did their job. Davey Warner scoring a hundred in both innings for the third time is an amazing achievement, and Joe Burns and Usman [Khawaja] with their first hundreds in Test cricket too.
“It was a great performance all round, and I’m pretty happy with the boys.”
New Zealand’s woes were compounded by back injuries to fast bowler Tim Southee and allrounder Jimmy Neesham, the latter of whom will now miss the remainder of the Test series.
Neil Wagner and Mitchell McClenaghan have joined the touring squad as back-up, but NZ captain McCullum said in his post-match interview on Monday that he was “pretty confident” Southee would recover in time for the second Test.
“He’s started to come right pretty quickly, which is a good sign,” McCullum said.
“There’s a bit of an understanding with some back injuries that sometimes they can recover pretty quickly. We’ll give him every chance.
“He’s one of our leaders within the group and he’s an outstanding bowler. He showed in that first innings that he’ll pose a lot of questions for them as well.
“Hopefully he’ll play and we’ll have a full squad to pick from in that second Test.”
First Test betting results
Those who followed our Australia vs. New Zealand betting picks for the first Test will have come out of it a little bit richer.
Khawaja and Williamson both saluted as top team scorers, while Starc edged out Johnson as Australia’s best bowler in the first innings.
We also nailed the match result and the highest opening partnership, with the Aussies taking both markets in very comfortable fashion.
Australia – $1.72 @ Bet365.com
Highest opening partnership (first innings)
Australia – $1.72
First innings lead
Australia – $1.50
Top team batsmen (first innings)
Usman Khawaja – $6 @ Bet365.com
Kane Williamson – $4
Mitch Starc – $2.75
Kane Williamson – $13
Man of the match
David Warner – $10
Odds provided by Bet365.com
Second Test match odds
Starts 10:30am local time on Friday, November 13, 2015 at the WACA Ground, Perth
Australia – $1.38 (William Hill)
New Zealand – $5.50 (Luxbet)
Draw – $8 (Sportsbet)
After that hammering on a relatively friendly pitch at the Gabba, the bookies are expecting a similar result on the firm, fast surfaces of the WACA.
The short turnaround certainly won’t help New Zealand, who will be sweating on the fitness of first-choice seamer Tim Southee.
His possible absence could result in a Test debut for Mitch McClenaghan – a capable limited-overs speedster who, at 29 years of age, is yet to make a lasting impact with the red ball in domestic first-class cricket.
Combine that with the departure of Jimmy Neesham, who himself was a replacement for the injured Corey Anderson, and it’s fair to say the Kiwis are testing their depth at the moment.
With the Aussies all fired up after that big win in Brisbane, it will take one hell of a momentum swing to stop them at Perth.
Trans-Tasman Trophy series betting
Australia – $1.10 (Luxbet.com)
New Zealand – $21 (CrownBet.com)
Draw – $12 (Sportsbet.com)
Australia were paying $1.53 (William Hill) in the series betting ahead of the Gabba Test, but the sheer dominance of their performance has seen them plunge as low as $1.06 at some of the leading online bookmakers.
And after starting at a very respectable $4.50 (CrownBet) last week, the much-hyped Kiwis have blown way out after a performance that showed up a lack of real match-readiness throughout the squad.
The visitors have two Tests in which to redeem themselves, but even the draw is paying well over $10 at most cricket betting sites.
Indeed, the Aussies are paying as little as $2 to complete a 3-0 whitewash – by far the favoured outcome in the correct score markets at the moment.
The leading bookies also have Dave Warner and Kane Williamson as clear frontrunners to top the scoring charts for their respective sides, while Mitch Starc is tipped to finish with the most Australian wickets after snaring six victims at Brisbane.
Correct score betting
Australia 3-0 – $2.10
Australia 2-0 – $3.60
Australia 2-1 – $4
Australia 1-0 – $23
Draw 1-1 – $12
New Zealand 2-1 – $26
Top Australian runscorer odds
David Warner – $1.20
Joe Burns – $7.50
Usman Khawaja – $9
Steve Smith – $17
Adam Voges – $34
Top New Zealand runscorer odds
Kane Williamson – $1.05
Brendon McCullum – $12
Tom Latham – $15
Martin Guptill – $26
Ross Taylor – $51
Top Australian wicket-taker bets
Mitchell Starc – $2.50
Mitchell Johnson – $3.75
Josh Hazlewood – $5
Nathan Lyon – $5.50
Peter Siddle – $21
Mitchell Marsh – $26
United States & Australian betting markets underpin Paddy Power growth
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