Steve Smith could let his Big Four loose against England
Australia will continue with just three of the Big Four today with 90mph men Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins set to link up with Josh Hazlewood.
Smith indicated the experienced John Hastings is likely to join the trio with their other express ace James Pattinson the most likely to miss out.
Yet he conceded the temptation to land early blows ahead of this winter’s Ashes could prove difficult to resist with Englishmen in their sights in eight days’ time.
“We are probably not going to end up going with the four quicks to begin the series, but it’s great that they are all fit and bowling well and ready to go,” said Smith.
Steve Smith will be hoping to kick off their Champions Trophy with a win against New Zealand
“It’s hard always to fit four big, fast bowlers into one line-up but it is great that we have those options there now.”
Australia have rarely had access to the full range of their impressive fast bowling stocks. Cummins, 24, has suffered several stress fractures in his back and foot but has been injury free this winter. Starc, 27, had a stress fracture of his foot in March.
And Pattinson, 27, an overseas player for Nottinghamshire this summer, has also been plagued with injuries including back and shin problems.
Smith maintained having all four available has kept the batsmen on the toes in the nets this week.
“It’s been very challenging, particularly if there’s a little bit in the wicket,” he said. “So it’s been a great challenge for our batters. It’s always nice facing those kind of guys and being challenged.
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“Everyone’s a little bit quicker in the nets as well. So when you get out in the middle, things seem a little bit easier, and hopefully it shows when we bat tomorrow.”
Tomorrow's opener is a repeat of the World Cup final in 2015 where Australia won by seven wickets. Honours have been even since then with four wins apiece in eight meetings.
But New Zealand will be hoping to catch their neighbours a little rusty with an Australia side, locked in a pay dispute with their board back home, not having played an ODI for nearly four months, other than a single warm-up game against Sri Lanka. Their other warm-up, against Pakistan on Monday, was washed out.
In contrast, New Zealand played a tri-series in Ireland last month and a series against South Africa in March.