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Rusty Aussies all geared up to take on Black Caps

cricket Updated: Feb 24, 2011 12:57 IST
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Skipper Ricky Ponting will be desperately looking to get his act together when Australia take on New Zealand in a Trans-Tasman battle at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Jamtha in Nagpur on Friday.

While New Zealand were utterly dominant as they blew away Kenya in their opening round match in Chennai, the Australian batsmen save Shane Watson were rusty against the Zimbabwean bowlers although they managed a comfortable 91-run win in the end.

If Ponting's men will like to put up a better all-round show, the Daniel Vettori-led Blacks Caps will be keen to focus hard on the match despite the devastating earthquake in Christchurch that has led to a loss of several lives.

Such has been the telling effect on the squad that New Zealand team are left without a physio and trainer. Physiotherapist Dayle Shackel and trainer Bryan Stronach have left home to take care of their affected families.

In fact, the Board of Control for Cricket in India were requested by New Zealand Cricket to release NCA trainer Paul Close but that Indian board could not spare him. In fact, it was seniormost all-rounder Scott Styris who spilled the beans on twitter.

"Does anyone know of a physio here in India? Unfortunately BCCI won't let us borrow their kiwi born academy physio whilst ours heads Back to Christchurch to take care of their demolished house? Would only be for a week or so till he comes back," Styris posted on his twitter account.

It is there to be seen how well the Kiwis can focus on the on-field activities after a tragedy of this magnitude.

When the Black Caps trained during the morning session, it was more like going through the motions -- banter and laughs.

After the England vs Holland game, which saw nearly 600 runs being scored, one can expect another run feast on the Jamtha featherbed where the bowlers will find it difficult to contain the batsmen.

However, since it is supposed to be a day game (9:30 am start), one can expect seamers to get a bit of help for the first few overs with the white kookaburra but that's all one can expect from this track which is as flat as it gets.

While New Zealand pacers Hamish Bennett and Tim Southee ran through the Kenyan batting the other day on a placid Jamtha strip, it will be skipper Vettori and offie Nathan McCullum who will be calling the shots.