Starc targeting Guptill and Williamson


Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has set his sights on opening batsman Martin Guptill and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson ahead of the Chappell-Hadlee one-day international series.

Starc and Australia will do battle with trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, starting in Auckland on Monday, without skipper Steve Smith and star batsman David Warner.

Australia reclaimed the Chappell-Hadlee trophy in a series whitewash in December, having lost to the Black Caps in 2015-16.

While the Aussies made light work of New Zealand last time out, Starc is wary of Guptill (42.36) and Williamson (46.81), who both average more than 40 runs in ODIs, on home soil.

"Guptill is obviously their aggressor at the moment," Starc said on Sunday.

"He scored a few runs for them in the series back in Australia [Guptill made 114, 45 and 34].

"Williamson is the key for them as the captain, he can bat a long time and he's a class player as well.

"They've got guys through the middle who can hit a long ball and score quick runs, so we know there are guys there we have to combat with the ball and try to get out cheaply.

"We spoke a lot about that in the team meeting and it's about putting that into the game now and executing the way we want to, and we know we can."

Australia head into the series on the back of a 4-1 ODI triumph over Pakistan, but without Smith, Warner and Usman Khawaja.

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade will stand-in as captain, while Aaron Finch is back in the team and Starc - who claimed figures of 6-28 in his one and only ODI match at Eden Park - believes Australia have the quality to cope in the absence of the star trio.

"There're obviously some guys who have contributed heavily to the team in the last little bit and guys who have played a lot of cricket," he said. "But the guys who come in have got a fair bit of experience.

"Shaun Marsh has done really well for his domestic side in the last little bit and done well for Australia in the past, and Finchy has played a huge amount of cricket for us.

"Yeah sure, we've got the captain and vice-captain not here with us, but it's a chance for guys who've been around the team to come in and perform well and I guess cement a spot back in the team."