Injuries to Daniel Vettori and Simon Doull forced New Zealand's selectors to make two changes yesterday to the starting team for the third Test against Australia, which starts here on Friday.
Vettori succumbed to a persistent back injury during the six-wicket loss to the Australians in Wellington in the second Test and was replaced by fellow left-arm spinner Bruce Martin. Doull, who bowled well below full pace in Wellington, has been replaced by Daryl Tuffey. The selectors retained the same top-order batting line-up, which has failed in both Test losses to Australia so far in this three-Test series.
The Australians have won nine successive Tests, breaking a 79-year-old national record, and are on target for the international record of 11 successive Test wins, set by the West Indies in the 1980s. Allan Border, the former Australian captain, who holds the record of most Test runs, said the current team had proved themselves as a truly fantastic side. "I think they can set a great mark," Border said. "They'll beat the Kiwis 3-0 then they have the West Indies in Australia next summer and I think they have their measure."
The Australians own the world record for consecutive wins in limited-overs internationals after extending their unbeaten stretch to 14 before losing the last game of a recent series to New Zealand. Australia will name its team for the third Test later in the week.
New Zealand (Third Test v Australia, Hamilton, Friday): *S P Fleming, M J Horne, C M Spearman, M S Sinclair, N J Astle, C D McMillan, C L Cairns, Ã¿A C Parore, P J Wiseman, D R Tuffey, S B O'Connor, B Martin.