The Gabba will host the first test between Australia and New Zealand.
The Gabba will host the first test between Australia and New Zealand. SMP Images

Aussies not Kiwis' focus

IF ANYONE was expecting Chris Martin to roar the odds on New Zealand toppling Australia in their two-test series, they got the wrong bloke.

That's not the laconic 36-year-old's style. New Zealand's player of the year prefers a lower key approach, as he demonstrated yesterday when the topic of Australia's patchy recent test record was raised.

"It opens up a few windows for us, and it makes us even more determined to come with the right attitude, and realise it's a good opportunity to put pressure on a team that's probably underperformed in the last 12 months," Martin said in Brisbane yesterday ahead of New Zealand's four-day game against Australia A starting tomorrow.

Australia have won just three and lost seven of their last 13 tests, plummeting down the test rankings to sit at fourth, compared with New Zealand's eighth placing.

However the most recent of those was a thrilling two-wicket victory over South Africa in Johannesburg.

Martin said Australia's recent travails were not something he had spent much time dwelling on.

"I know there's always pressure on a side that's underperforming and they'll always find the reasons, or the culprits.

"But it's nothing really to do with us. We're just focusing on our own game and hope it's good enough to play over here."

Indeed Martin believes more heat will go on the New Zealand players from within rather than externally as they chase their first test win on Australian soil in 26 years.

"Most of the time you're trying to impress your teammates, trying to show you deserve to be out there. If everyone's got that attitude it means the team are going to play well."

Martin became the fourth New Zealand bowler to take 200 test wickets in the one-off win over Zimbabwe at Bulawayo this month but his record against Australia is not especially flash: 15 wickets from 10 tests at an average of 86. At Brisbane in his two tests, however, he has taken nine wickets at a far tidier 29 each.

Martin was impressed by new Australian quick Pat Cummins, who took six wickets and won man of the match on his debut against South Africa this week.

"He's a nice, raw talent, he's 18, has a big smile on face and he's doing well. It's one of those boyhood dreams he's been thinking about for a while and he's definitely had a good start.

"Martin admitted New Zealand's cricket public "has had to put up with quite a bit from us over the years so to play well over here has been a long time coming".

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