Brendon McCullum will lead a strong New Zealand side into next week's first Test at the Gabba.
Brendon McCullum will lead a strong New Zealand side into next week's first Test at the Gabba.

Black Caps not out to rewrite history

It may not have won a series in Australia for three decades, but that has not been an issue for discussion for New Zealand before next week's first Test at the Gabba.

In 1985, the Richard Hadlee-inspired New Zealanders beat Australia 2-1, but since then the only success has been a win in Hobart four years ago in the most recent trans-Tasman Test.

"Not at all," allrounder Jimmy Neesham said when asked if it was in the backs of the New Zealand players' minds.

"We hadn't won a one-day series in South Africa before I'd started playing, and we've knocked that one off.

"We seem to be going about ways of breaking new ground for New Zealand cricket over the last couple of years.

Trying to do something that hasn't been done before, or for a long time, doesn't really play on our minds."

After a big win against the Prime Minister's XI at Canberra's Manuka Oval last week, and a draw in a two-day game against a Cricket Australia XI at the same ground at the weekend, the Black Caps will have another opportunity to spend some time in the middle when they take on another CA XI in a three-day game starting in Sydney today.

The Aussie line-up has been strengthened by the inclusion of Victorians Aaron Finch and Cameron White.

Selectors couldn't find a spot in the Bushrangers team for the pair in the opening Sheffield Shield game against Queensland that started yesterday.

Finch, a World Cup winner and Australia's T20 captain, had a disappointing Matador One-Day Cup campaign, scoring just 112 runs at 18.66. And while White was more productive - 137 runs at 27.40 - the 32-year-old was left out of the elimination final against South Australia.

Their inclusion in the CA XI line-up will give the New Zealand bowlers an extra challenge in the game that has been reduced from four days to three to give the tourists an extra day in Brisbane to prepare for the first Test.

The squad will head to Queensland on Sunday to get extra experience in the conditions far more likely to mirror what they'll find at the Gabba, than what they are likely to encounter at Blacktown.

Neesham admitted Australia's record at Brisbane - it hasn't lost a Test there since 1988 - was "a little overawing", but said the priority was to look after what New Zealand was doing rather than fret over what Australia might do.
 


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