The ICC’s international Test rankings have New Zealand as the world’s second-best Test team - but it was seem Michael Vaughan disagrees.
The former England captain is never shy about speaking his mind, and it was New Zealand’s Test credentials that he had in his sights.
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Despite acknowledging New Zealand’s strong Test record over the last two years, Vaughn said it was laughable that the Black Caps would be so high in the rankings.
“I will be dead honest about the ICC rankings, I think they are absolute garbage,” Vaughan said, prior to the first ball being bowled on Boxing Day.
“I have no idea how – New Zealand have won plenty of series over the course of the last two years – but for them to be second (isn’t right).
“I think the rankings are a little bit confusing.
“I certainly don't, in my opinion, have New Zealand as the second best Test match nation in the world.
“I think, particularly over here in Australia, Australia are a far better Test match team.”
Kiwi fans descend on MCG for Boxing Day Test
With New Zealand playing their first Melbourne Test since 1987, Kiwi shirts were everywhere en route to watch the No.2 ranked team battle Australia.
About 16,000 day-one tickets were snapped up weeks ago by fans living across the Tasman.
Combined with a large Kiwi expat population in Victoria, it was always going to ensure a blockbuster crowd with an electric atmosphere.
New Zealand supporters were immediately rewarded for their 32-year wait between MCG Tests with a memorable start.
Captain Kane Williamson's brave decision to bowl first after winning the toss reaped rewards in the first over.
You could have been forgiven for thinking the match was being played in Auckland when Trent Boult knocked over Australian opener Joe Burns four balls in.
With more than 50,000 fans already packed into the MCG, Kiwi fans roared as one when Burns' stumps were rattled by the returning quick's perfect in-swinging delivery.
New Zealanders filled up the Punt Rd end of the ground, rising together to applaud Boult as he triumphantly walked down to fine leg after his first over.