Sport Wellington to host remainder of T20 series
Conway rises from gradie to Black Caps ace
Batting sensation Devon Conway has made no secret of his desire to play Test cricket for the Black Caps after his brilliant T20 knock against Australia.The local outfit pounced on Conway in 2017 after the South African expressed an interest in moving to New Zealand.
The remainder of Australia's T20 series against New Zealand will be played behind closed doors in Wellington due to Auckland's COVID-19 outbreak.
On Monday, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) shifted the fifth and final match of the series, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, from Tauranga to Wellington's Sky Stadium.
They had already moved Thursday's game four to Wellington from Auckland - which is in a second coronavirus lockdown in a month.
New Zealand Cricket said the "change has been forced on NZC because of logistical complications".
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Spinner Ashton Agar said given the ongoing health threat, "the right decision has been made".
"They've made sure that they've looked after the players' mental and physical wellbeing and and come to the right decision," he said.
Australia's players spent the weekend off in Wellington and resume training on Monday.
New Zealand's squad dispersed over the country during the break and have four Auckland-based players in isolation, awaiting COVID-19 test results before resuming training in Wellington.
None of those four - Martin Guptill, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham and Glenn Phillips - have travelled to the affected region in Auckland, and left the city as soon as the latest restrictions were announced.
Cricket Australia is yet to solve another issue - getting the touring party home without the need for a second fortnight of quarantine.
Australia lost spin battle against Kiwis, but they can win the war
Spin pair Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar have been key to Australia’s T20 resurgence so it was odd to see captain Aaron Finch seemingly lose faith in them as the Aussies were beaten by New Zealand on Monday. Zampa and Agar sent down just five overs combined as Finch instead employed part-timers Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, with Australia using a whopping seven bowlers. It was a surprising move by Finch after Australia made a commanding start, reducing the Kiwis to 3-19. Particularly so given the strong faith the skipper has previously shown in this spin combo.
The squad is currently due to fly home from New Zealand from Auckland next Monday.
Video: Finch's nightmare run continues (9News.com.au)
The outbreak has prompted state governments to designate Auckland as part of the "red zone", meaning anyone that has visited New Zealand's biggest city is ineligible for a quarantine exemption.
Agar said the players - who were considering a boycott of the proposed Eden Park match before it was shifted - had been briefed on the matter by management.
"It's not the ideal situation ... no one really likes the thought of quarantine," he said.
"There's a lot of guys who have done up to six weeks of isolation and quarantine, maybe more, and they've got more coming up.
"We have faith in Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket that they have the players' physical and mental health in their best interest."
Agar said he was happy with the shift to Wellington's stadium, known locally as 'The Cake Tin', after playing at Dunedin's tiny University of Otago Oval.
"This ground isn't as short and straight so that's always nice ... to have a longer boundary straight down the wicket is beautiful," he said.
Losses in Christchurch and Dunedin last week has Australia 2-0 down in the series, needing to win all three matches to claim victory.
AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND T20 SERIES
Game one - February 22, Christchurch - New Zealand def Australia by 53 runs
Game two - February 25, Dunedin - New Zealand def Australia by 4 runs
Game three - March 3, 7pm (5pm AEDT), Wellington*
Game four - March 5, 7pm (5pm AEDT), Wellington*
Game five - March 7, 4pm (2pm AEDT), Wellington*
* Wellington matches to be played behind closed doors
Pink-ball Tests should only be scheduled to last three days .
Love makes us blind.