Cricket: Australia to target Martin Guptill

Martin Guptill was ineffective during the recent test series in Australia. Photo / Getty
Martin Guptill was ineffective during the recent test series in Australia. Photo / Getty

Australian spearhead Josh Hazlewood has fired a pointed shot at Black Caps star Martin Guptill, declaring the opener's confidence will desert him the moment he walks out to the middle for Friday's first Test.

Guptill has smashed a century and eight 50s in his past 15 matches this summer - an imposing reminder of his standing as one of the most dangerous short-form openers in world cricket.

However, unlike David Warner who changes little with his powerful game when it comes to Test cricket- Guptill's Test record suggests he becomes a toothless tiger as soon as the ball turns red.

It's remarkable that the man who holds the record for the highest individual score in a World Cup and the second highest score in one-day history (237no) has a Test average of 30.

Against Australia - the man who lost three toes in a forklift accident when he was a teenager has been completely legless, with his Test average plummeting to just 16.

Guptill hammered the Australians with a 90, 31 and 59 in the recent one-day series - but Hazlewood believes that golden patch will once again count for nothing.

"I think we did get the better of him in Australia. He plays a lot differently in Tests compared to one-dayers," says Hazlewood, who got Guptill out three times during the home series at the start of the summer.

"He's quite confident in limited-overs games - he knows his game really well at the top of the order.

"But I think he's still a bit uncertain in the Test arena so we'll be looking to exploit that again and stay on top of him as we've done in Australia."

The Aussies might not rate Guptill - but the opposite goes for the man it's his job to protect - New Zealand's ace No.3 Kane Williamson.

Kiwi captain-in-waiting Williamson didn't necessarily take off in the one-dayers - but Australia remember his dominance during the Test series at home earlier this summer and rate him as the No.1 wicket.

"I still think he's a better Test player than a one-day player. We have to get him out in Test cricket and I think the way we bowl to him in these last three (ODI) games has been pretty much spot on," he said.

"We've tried to tie him down and get him driving so that's going to be the key in these Test matches. He showed in Australia how good a player he is and I think he's got runs against every country in the world.

"He knows these conditions well so we've got to get on top of him early and try and get him early. I think he's that rock in their order that they feed off."

Aside from Guptill - the other New Zealander the Australians will be licking their lips at the sight of come Friday will be spinner Mark Craig.

The 28-year-old averaged a whopping 64.12 with the ball during the recent series on Australian soil - with his performances some of the worst ever seen by a spinner down under.

Teammate Tim Southee - making his comeback from injury - backed Craig to bounce back.

"Coming back to conditions he's familiar with, he would have learned a lot from that tour," said Southee. "As cricketers you're always trying to improve your game."

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Oct 2016 16:25:08 Processing Time: 2377ms