Spin depth leaves Australia well-placed to complete series comeback

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New Zealand may have to call on their part-time bowlers as they look to hit back from two heavy defeats

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There will be more important T20 matches for these two sides to play later in the year, but a deciding contest to this series is a good opportunity for them to hone their skills in tournament-style play. Australia have been playing must-win for the last two matches, turning in impressive victories, and it feels as though while they have gathered confidence, it has ebbed away from New Zealand.

New Zealand’s coach, Gary Stead, was reasonably blunt after the defeat on Friday in saying he thought his team took a backward step with the bat. There is limited scope for changes with the 13-man squad they have for this series so it would appear likely the same top order will go again, but there is pressure on Tim Seifert in what has been a disappointing series for him.

Spin can be expected to play another big role and Australia have deeper options available with the trio of Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell doing an outstanding job yesterday. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi were also impressive, but it may be that Kane Wiliamson will have to use himself this time.

Straight after the match, Australia’s squad will head to Wellington airport and board their charter flight back to Sydney. Those players from states with open borders to New Zealand (excluding Auckland) won’t have to quarantine but those from places where regulations in place potentially face isolation depending on whether they go straight home.

This is the last confirmed international cricket Australia’s men’s team has on the schedule for some considerable time (barring an unlikely England comeback in the final Test against India) although there could be a mid-year white-ball tour of the Caribbean ahead of the final build-up to the T20 World Cup. For New Zealand, their home season will conclude later this month with ODI and T20I series against Bangladesh.

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