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Australia out to ruin Kane Williamson, Tim Southee 100-Test milestone

Australia named an unchanged XI, meaning their four key bowlers – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon – have played 7 tests on the trot

Australia plan to spoil the party for New Zealand centurions Kane Williamson and Tim Southee when the second Test starts on Friday as they bid to sweep the series.

New Zealand’s Kane Williamson(AFP)

Fast bowler Southee and batsman Williamson will both make their 100th appearances at Hagley Oval in Christchurch with hosts New Zealand chasing a first Test win over Australia since 2011 to mark the occasion.

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But they have their work cut out after a 172-run defeat in the first on the two-Test series last week in Wellington.

Australia named an unchanged team, meaning their four key bowlers — Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon — have played all seven Tests this summer.

“It’s been a long summer, but we all feel like we’ve got a bit of freshness about us,” said Cummins, the Australian captain.

“We’re not limping over the line, and we feel like we’re in a great position than I thought we’d be in a couple of months ago.

“We know this is one last big push for a while,” he added ahead of a lengthy Test break, with Australia keen for another win to earn points for the World Test Championship.

They currently sit third in the table, just behind New Zealand with India on top.

“Not that you need extra motivation for a Test match, but it does have a lot of context this week,” Cummins added of the points at stake.

Southee and Williamson follow in the footsteps of New Zealand’s other Test centurions — Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor.

Williamson has scored more than 8,600 runs since his debut in 2010 while Southee has 378 wickets, having made his bow in 2008.

‘Prize wicket’

Cummins said he had “huge admiration” for both men, who he described as “stalwarts of New Zealand cricket”.

“It’s a huge feat to not only keep your form for a dozen or so years that you need to play 100 Test matches, but also to keep your body in that kind of shape,” he said of Southee, while praising the consistency of Williamson.

“Kane has always been fantastic to play against, whatever the format. He always seems like the prize wicket (to take).”

Southee said it was special to reach the milestone alongside “good mate” Williamson, who he called “one of our greatest players”.

With New Zealand speedster Will O’Rourke ruled out injured, Ben Sears is set to make his debut.

Veteran paceman Neil Wagner announced his retirement after being dropped for the first Test, and there were suggestions that he might be recalled.

Earlier this week, his former team-mate Taylor sparked controversy by claiming Wagner had been forced into retirement and that Australia’s batters would be “sleeping easy”.

But New Zealand coach Gary Stead resisted the urge to bring him back and refuted the claim, as did Southee.

“I don’t think anyone is forced to retire. He’s been a warrior for us for so many years and seemed at peace with his decision,” said Blacks Caps skipper Southee, who has taken just four wickets in three Tests this year.

“I haven’t got the wickets I would have liked. I’ve probably not been where I should be as the most experienced seamer in the side,” he said.

“I hope to finish strong this summer. Hopefully there are some (wickets) to come.”


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