New Zealand vs Australia 1st Test: Preview and Prediction

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New Zealand to face Australia in the 1st Test on February 29th

After Australia swept the T20I series 3-0 against the home team New Zealand, an exciting Trans-Tasman red-ball series, consisting of two Test matches, is all set to unfold starting Thursday, with the first match to be played in the Capital City, Wellington.

At the top of the table in the World Test Championship, Tim Southee‘s Blackcaps will aim to maintain their consistency on their home turf, while their arch-rivals and defending champions Australia, led by Pat Cummins and currently holding the number three position, will be eager to ascend one step higher.

Despite their proximity and historical ties, Australia has made only one Test cricket visit to New Zealand in the past 14 years. Notably, Australia’s premier pace duo, Mitchell Starc and Cummins are set to make their debut appearance on New Zealand’s turf in this upcoming Test match.

As Australia prepares to enter the battleground with their full lineup, it is the hosts who will be without Kyle Jamieson who is sidelined due to a stress fracture sustained during a Test match against South Africa, sidelining him from cricket for another year or so. Fast bowler William O’Rourke has been drafted into the Blackcaps’ test team as Jamieson’s replacement.

Local star Devon Conway, whose recent performances have raised questions, is unlikely to feature in the first test after injuring his left thumb during the second T20I against Australia and subsequently missing the last T20I game. Neil Wagner, originally in the squad, has announced his retirement and will not participate in the upcoming Test series.

What have they done so far?

New Zealand commenced their first Test series of the ongoing WTC cycle against Bangladesh in November-December last year, with Bangladesh taking a positive stride by clinching the first test at Sylhet with a significant margin of 150 runs.

However, New Zealand orchestrated a remarkable comeback in the second test at Mirpur, where only 635 runs were amassed across the four innings of the match. Spearheaded by the brilliant performance of Glenn Phillips, the Blackcaps secured victory by 4 wickets, resulting in a series tie of 1-1.

New Zealand won the Test series against South Africa for the first time ever.

In the recent two-match Test series against South Africa’s Second Stint team, New Zealand showcased dominance over Proteas’ rookie players. During the first test at Mount Maunganui, the formidable duo of Kane Williamson and Rachin Ravindra helped the Kiwis to a resounding victory by 281 runs. In the second test at Hamilton, another stellar century by Williamson contributed to the Blackcaps securing the series triumph with a comprehensive 7-wicket win.

Meanwhile, Australia hosted Pakistan in December/January for three Test matches, where the visitors failed to muster any resistance. Australia emerged victorious in all three matches held at Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Australia’s last encounter was a two-Test series against West Indies in January, where Caribbean fans witnessed something truly extraordinary. After comfortably securing a 10-wicket victory at Adelaide, Australia faced an unexpected defeat at the Gabba by Windies after nearly 30 years, resulting in a series draw of 1-1, leaving everyone stunned. 

Head to Head Record

In their storied 77-year Test rivalry, New Zealand and Australia have clashed in a total of 60 matches, with Australia demonstrating consistent dominance over the years. Australia boasts a commanding lead with 34 victories, while the Blackcaps have managed just 8 wins. Furthermore, 18 matches concluded without a result, ending in draws.

Remarkably, of the 24 contested series between the two teams, New Zealand have emerged victorious in only 3. Additionally, in the 21st century, out of 25 Tests against the formidable Australians, New Zealand has secured victory only once.

Key Players 

Williamson shares the title of most centuries among active cricketers with 32 Test centuries

Kane Williamson (New Zealand): Williamson, the former New Zealand captain, is on the brink of his 100th Test match, currently basking in the prime of his career and poised to deliver another stellar performance in the upcoming Test match. 

Since 2017, Williamson has been consistently amassing runs at an average exceeding 50 in Test cricket. Moreover, in 2023, he emerged as the leading run-scorer for New Zealand, tallying 695 runs in 13 innings at an impressive average of 57.92.

Discussing his recent form, Williamson has been operating at an elevated level. In 2024, he amassed 403 runs across 4 innings played against the Proteas at an astonishing average of 134.33. What’s even more remarkable is that in his last 10 Test matches, Williamson has notched up 8 centuries.

Usman Khawaja (Australia): Usman Khawaja is renowned for his ability to notch up substantial scores once settled at the crease. Over the past two years, Khawaja has established himself as a formidable force, gaining 1080 runs in 2022 at an average of 67.50. Similarly, in 2023, he once again led the run charts for Australia, accumulating 1210 runs with an average of 52.60 and notching up 3 centuries.

While his performance in the current year has seen him accumulate 186 runs from 6 innings at an average of 37.70, which might not be as stellar, Khawaja’s previous record at Wellington is noteworthy. His century in the 2016 Test against the Blackcaps underscores his value as a dependable player for his team.

Predicted XIs

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Tim Southee ©, William O’Rourke 

Australia: Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins ©, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazelwood


Out of 10 Tests played at Wellington’s Basin Reserve Stadium, Australia has clinched victory 4 times, demonstrating their prowess on New Zealand soil. In contrast, New Zealand has secured only a single win against Australia at this venue, with 5 matches concluding in draws.

Assessing the current form of both teams, New Zealand emerges as the stronger contender, backed by recent performances. However, Australia’s formidable record in Tests on New Zealand soil, particularly at Wellington, underscores their potential to pose a significant threat.