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New Zealand v Australia second Test preview: Aussies out to spoil landmark occasion

Australia powered to a 172-run victory in the first Test of two against New Zealand and will now look to make sure of a series victory by at least avoiding defeat at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The margin of victory in Wellington was wide, but the Baggy Greens still have concerns surrounding a majority of their top-order batters, with the notable exception of all-rounder Cameron Green, who was named as Player of the Match at Basin Reserve.

The all-star quartet of Aussie bowlers made up for any bating weaknesses, with off-spinner Nathan Lyon excelling in taking match figures of 10-108 in the win in the series opener.

Moving on to Christchurch, Australia are set to be unchanged, while for the hosts both Tim Southee and Kane Williamson will play in their 100th Test matches.

What: New Zealand v Australia, second Test
When: From 9am (AEDT), Friday 8th March
Where: Hagley Oval, Christchurch
How to watch: FOX
Odds: New Zealand 3.75, Draw 8.00, Australia 1.50

Green shows other batters the way

All-rounder Green has been handed a red-ball focus by the Baggy Greens selectors in recent months and that paid off handsomely at Basin Reserve as he made a magnificent Test-best 174 not out in the first innings - with his knock almost exactly the difference between the two sides at the end of the match.

Green has certainly cemented himself in place at number four for the foreseeable future, but he is one of only three of the Aussie top seven who are averaging over 40 in the last 12 months.

Focus has especially fallen on number three Marnus Labuschagne, who has not reached double figures in any of his last five Test innings and who has made just one century in his last 37 Test knocks.

However, an overall Test average against New Zealand of 69.00 shows that Labuschagne can usually be counted on and he is 6.50 to be Top 1st Innings Batter at the Hagley Oval.

With the ball Lyon was, of course, the standout performer at Basin Reserve, while the Aussie seamers were unable to match the efforts of Black Caps paceman Matt Henry, who took eight wickets in the match.

Lyon has now taken 20 wickets across the three Tests he has played in New Zealand, while his overall record against the Black Caps is 60 wickets at an average of 18.90 in 11 Test matches.

He is an 11.00 shot to be named as Player of the Match in the second Test, with Green available at 12.00.

Kiwis forced into another bowling change

With the international career of Neil Wagner having come to a close ahead of the first Test, New Zealand hoped for a big performance from replacement Will O'Rourke, but he was hit by a hamstring injury during the Australia second innings and will miss the match in Christchurch.

Ben Sears is set to make his Test debut in place of O'Rourke, having impressed in the recent T20I series between these two sides.

Left-arm spinner Mitch Santner may also be handed a recall, with Black Caps coach Gary Stead admitting that a mistake had been made in going into the series opener with Glenn Phillips as the lone spin option.

On the batting front, Devon Conway missed the first Test and has since undergone surgery of a fractured thumb, so faces a longer spell on the sidelines.

There is much to work on for the Kiwi batters, with only Phillips and Rachin Ravindra passing 50 during the heavy defeat in Wellington, while the match will be a major occasion as both Williamson and Southee play their 100th Test matches.

Williamson made 0 and 9 in Wellington but has scores of 238 and 121 not out in two of his last three Test innings at the Hagley Oval.

The 33-year-old right-hander is available at 1.83 to make over 76.5 runs in the match, while he is 7.00 to be Top 1st Innings Batter.

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