BLACKCAPS geared up for ANZ showdown

While the win-loss-win-loss pattern of the ANZ International Series has punters picking a BLACKCAPS victory today, the players themselves have been endeavouring to leave nothing to chance.

The word is that today's Eden Park deck will be another belter, with good carry and bounce and the crowd set to enjoy a stunner of a day hitting 27 degrees Celsius.

While that means extra sunblock and cold drinks for the spectators, for the players it means extra focus on dealing to the bounce generated by the likes of James Anderson and Steven Finn to maximise scoring opportunities.

Says BLACKCAP James Franklin, "It's an area we've been working particularly hard on in training over the last two weeks and, of course, over the last two days as we gear up for the ANZ ODI Series decider.

"Everyone has their own technique for combating the bounce - some guys look to pull, others cut or even ramp the ball. But regardless of which technique you use, there's a fine balance between when to attack and when to defend against that kind of delivery. Each player has to work out the balance that works most successfully for him, and that's been the challenge for every one of us."

While the BLACKCAPS have trained hard and well in Auckland, there's nothing quite like facing a tall, flame-breathing, international-calibre pace bowler in the middle and the team is under no illusion that it's time to stand and deliver against the fire of the England opening attack in today's ANZ Trophy decider.

Franklin adds that coming up against Morne Morkel in the recent series in South Africa provided a certain degree of preparation for facing this tall England pace attack, "but we don't have a lot of tall pace bowlers around our own traps who can generate that degree of bounce. It's something that takes a little adjustment to, but it's a challenge that we've all been up for and we're extremely determined to put on our best in today's game."

Of the nine ODIs the BLACKCAPS have played at Eden Park in the last five years, the BLACKCAPS have won four and lost four (one of these, against Australia, by just 12 runs), and had one no-result. It's a reasonable record at a venue where the atmosphere created by the large crowd traditionally spurs the side on.

Franklin says he can't wait for the game to begin and is expecting another excellent surface from head groundsman Mark Perham. "The pitch we played on in the ANZ Twenty20 at Eden Park was unusual for the ground in that we didn't see any of the 'tennis ball' bounce that you usually get early on there," says Franklin. "It was a very, very good strip, which was reflected in the high number of boundaries, and I understand it's the same pitch today so we're expecting a high-scoring game."

The match begins at 2pm and will be broadcast live on SKY Sport 1.

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