McCullum keen to bat first in Gabba Test

Both Australia and New Zealand are keen to bat first if they win the toss at the Gabba today.

But ever since England Captain Nasser Hussain sent Australia in at the Gabba in to bat in 2002, the idea of opting to field at the venue has become almost taboo.

New Zealand Captain Brendon McCullum was in no doubt about what would happen when he and Smith don the blazers to start the three-Test series starts in Brisbane.


“You win the toss and bat first. That seems the way it’s done over here,” McCullum said in his pre-match press conference. “It looks a good wicket. The groundsman knows how to prepare a good wicket. I think both teams will be looking to bat first.”

Australian captain Steve Smith wasn’t quite as obliging, staying mum on whether the Australia side would opt to bat or field if they win the toss.

Smith told 9 News he will be following a different tactic than his predecessor Michael Clarke. “I think we are just different people. Obviously it’s my team here now. I guess tactically, I want to make sure I am adaptable to the conditions that we face,” he said.

Smith also wants to continue the Australian tradition of playing aggressive cricket. “In Australia you can be more attacking, for instance, than in India with our quicks,” he said. “My captaincy style I need to be adapting to the conditions we face as well. If the time calls for it I’ll certainly be able to set those really attacking fields and let our bowlers go to work.”

The morning session on day one of the first Test between Australia and New Zealand will present difficult batting conditions. A max of 30C is predicted with a chance of showers in the morning and afternoon.

The humidity is not expected to be as crippling as it was in last year’s Test, when Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Marsh all left the field under duress.