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Kiwis claim they have the firepower to tackle Oz top order

Sydney, Nov.13 : Though it is ranked seventh among Test-playing nations, New Zealand has said that it has the firepower to knock the Australian top order over.

Black Caps pacer Chris Martin was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that Australia were finally beatable without Warne and McGrath, citing the side's inability to dismiss India in the failed Test series.

He said that his side is planning a similar bowling strategy to that used effectively by Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan to rattle the top order.

"I think when you lose two once-in-a-generation players who bowl in tandem so well, you're going to feel a bit of a hole there for a while. And winning cricket and taking 20 wickets might not become as easy, which has perhaps made the Australian side beatable," Martin said.

"But also you have to play extremely well to beat them. Whereas in the past perhaps you could play extremely well and still lose. So that's the only thing that's changed," he added.

Endorsing Martin's view, South African cricket coach, Mickey Arthur, told the Herald last weekend that his side could finally end Australia's long-held reign at the top.

"In familiar conditions - South Africa, England and Australia - I think it's going to be us ," Arthur said, adding "We certainly have the ammunition to mount a serious challenge."

Windies coach John Dyson added: "I think everyone has begun to realise that this current Australian side is human and can be beaten. And that's good for cricket."

Martin believes if the Kiwi pace attack can reproduce the stunning efforts of the Indians, Ricky Ponting and his men are fair game.

New Zealand is expected to go with four quicks for the opening Test in Brisbane next week. They include teenager Tim Southee, Iain O'Brien, Kyle Mills and Martin, who missed the Bangladesh tour with a hamstring injury.

Story first published: Thursday, November 13, 2008, 12:56 [IST]
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