3 Nov 2015

Black Cap spinner looking forward to Gabba bounce

7:33 am on 3 November 2015

The New Zealand spinner Mark Craig is looking forward to the prospect of playing in the first cricket test against Australia in Brisbane on Thursday.

Spinner Mark Craig celebrates taking a wicket with his New Zealand team-mates.

Spinner Mark Craig celebrates taking a wicket with his New Zealand team-mates. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Craig admits Australia's rebuilding batting line-up will have him in his sights, but he's backing himself to take a leaf out of Aussie offie Nathan Lyon's book and show that the Gabba is not just a fast bowler's paradise.

"One thing in Australia as a spinner, you get bounce," Craig said.

"Nathan Lyon has shown he is a world class spinner in his own conditions.

"No doubt they will come pretty hard at me, but with that brings opportunity to bring wickets - it is about holding your nerve."

Craig has obviously been encouraged by Lyon's Gabba record of 20 wickets at 23.3 in four Brisbane Tests since 2011.

But asked what he expected at his first Gabba clash, Craig said: "I have no idea what the wicket will do, this is the first time I have been here."

Craig does appear up against it with the ball after being picked as the Kiwis' sole spinner for the tour.

He has 38 Test wickets at an unflattering average of 40 since his 2014 debut.

However, Craig has a history of overcoming obstacles.

In 2009 he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, after being housebound for 11 months.

Two years later Craig had improved enough to earn his first class debut in New Zealand.

He took match figures of 8 for 188 in the West Indies last year to win man of the match on Test debut.

They are the best bowling figures by a New Zealander on Test debut.

He is only the third person to earn man of the match honours in his first Test.

For good measure Craig - who averages 42.10 in Tests with three 50s - is the only cricketer to hit the first ball he faced in Tests for six.

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