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View from Down Under: Wounded Aussies tipped to beat New Zealand in Tri-Series opener

Despite going down 4-1 in the recently completed one-day cricket series against England, Australia is the narrow favorite to open the Trans-Tasman Twenty20 Tri-Series with a win over New Zealand at the SCG this weekend.

Australia dominated the Ashes test series against England, but finds itself in something of a crisis when it comes to the short forms of the game.

Only one player from Australia’s Ashes-winning squad will feature in the Twenty20 series – David Warner, who has been picked as captain. Instead, the Australian T20 team is expected to be something of a Big Bash League all-stars side.

Test and ODI captain Steve Smith is being rested ahead of the Test tour of South Africa.

“It’s obviously not ideal right now that all the Test players except for Davey won’t be playing in the T20 tri-series with England and New Zealand,” Smith said this week.

New Zealand, meanwhile, is adamant that the wounded Australians are no less dangerous than usual.

“Australia in Australia, it’s going to be tough,” New Zealand opener and T20 powerhouse Colin Munro told reporters.

Munro, the world’s top-ranked T20 batsman, missed Sunday’s T20 series-deciding loss to Pakistan with a hamstring injury, but has recovered to face Australia.

Prolific Hobart Hurricanes batsman D’Arcy Short is set to make his international debut after being named in an Australian squad that features Brisbane Heat batter Chris Lynn and Melbourne Stars pacemen Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis.

With the Sydney surface in mind, New Zealand packed its squad with four spin options, with part-timers Kane Williamson and Anaru Kitchen to assist Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner.

Sportsbet is paying $1.75 (-133) for an Australian win with $2.08 (+108) for New Zealand.

Ahead of the Tri-Series, the domestic Big Bash finalist will be decided this week, with the Perth Scorchers hosting the Hurricanes on Thursday and the Melbourne Renegades visiting the Adelaide Strikers on Friday.

Shaun Marsh is set to open for the defending champion Scorchers for the first time in more than a year. The Test star has not played for Perth since an unbeaten half century in last year’s BBL semifinal.

The Scorchers are $1.53 (-189) favorites to reach another final, with the Hurricanes paying $2.55 (+155).

The Strikers will be without Travis Head, Alex Carey and Billy Stanlake for their match after the trio were selected for the Australian squad.

Cameron White, meanwhile, will return from the ODI series to captain the Renegades and is likely to replace bowler Kane Richardson, who was also selected for Australia.

The Renegades are on $1.80 (-125) to advance, with $2.05 (+105) for a Strikers win.

In the A-League, Melbourne Victory has a chance to gain ground on the top three when it travels to Newcastle.

The Newcastle Jets are currently in second spot – nine points behind Sydney FC – with the Victory in fourth, eight points behind.

The Jets are on $2.50 (+150) to win at home on Saturday, with the Victory on just $2.60 (+160) to claim an upset.

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