Kiwis Falter, Aussies Take Advantage

Australia vs New Zealand.

2nd Test, Bellerive Oval, Hobart

Day 3.

 

A catastrophic – but not unfamiliar – batting collapse by New Zealand in the morning session saw them forfeit their strong position in the Second Test. From the healthy, but hardly impregnable, overnight score of 3/139, the Kiwis lost their last seven wickets for a disappointing 87 runs. After some lacklustre bowling toward the end of the second day, Dandenong quicks P Siddle and J Pattinson once again rediscovered their mojo, doing the bulk of the grunt work and being handsomely rewarded in the process. Siddle has been improving with each outing in this series. And as for Pattinson: he has yet to wake from the dream that has been his initiation into Test cricket. Together they broke the back of, let’s face it, a fairly non-descript middle-order. The best that could be said for NZ was that their under-pressure skipper Ross Taylor managed to show some sort of form in posting a half-century.

 

But for me, the unsung hero of the bowling attack was again Nathan Lyon. In seven and a half tidy overs of off-spin, he did what spinners are supposed to do: wrap up the tail. (It is instructive that the visitors – sans Vettori – were unable to do this when Australia batted). It is the third time in four New Zealand innings that Lyon has dispatched the bunnies. Much of the talk in the early part of this summer has been about the fast bowling riches suddenly at Australia’s disposal, but Lyon has gone about his business with a minimum of fuss. He has only recently turned 24, but is bowling with a maturity beyond his years; it is easily forgotten that this Test is just his thirteenth first class match. I cannot recall him bowling too many bad balls over the past couple of matches. He will need to ensure this form continues, for we all know that one of the greatest batting line-ups in history will be waiting to severely punish his slightest indiscretion come Boxing Day.

 

On paper, the equation for Australia was simple. The best six available Test Match batsmen (if need be with assistance from the wicket-keeper and bowlers) needed to score 241 runs to win the series 2-0. A simple equation. But much more difficult in reality, given the fluctuating form-lines of the Aussie batsmen.

 

It was inevitable that once the openers took to the field after a rain delay, the early drama would centre on Philip Hughes. No batsman since Kepler Wessels has had his technique so thoroughly analysed, and Hughes did not let the viewers at home down. Early in the innings, he brushed a shortish delivery with his gloves down leg to the keeper. Appeal rejected, Taylor declined to refer a decision which hot-spot had clearly shown to be erroneous. It is upon such strokes of fortune that careers can turn, and Hughes immediately had the air of a condemned man suddenly spared the hangman’s noose.

 

However, the main story of Australia’s brief innings was David Warner. He really looks the goods, and could be the long-term opener Australia has been searching for. Given his 20/20 exploits, his eye is beyond question. The more I see of him in Test cricket, the more comfortable I feel about him. His stroke-play was impressive, and he showed a previously hidden ability to judiciously leave the swinging ball (although you can tell it is the antithesis of his very being). Technique-wise, he would pass a forensic examination. And I reckon a man who has battled as hard as Warner has to be accepted as a Test player will not now easily surrender his spot.

 

This match is not yet over, but day three clearly belonged to Australia, and they now hold the upper hand. Hughes will have slept a little easier, but no doubt Punter will be keen to produce – for a myriad of reasons – in his final Tasmanian Test. Especially if there is an early wicket or two.

 

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Good stuff Smokie.

    NZ seemed to seize up after Williamson’s poor shot to the day’s 3rd ball.

    A contest of who collapses the least?

  2. Still chasing 170 runs.

    The fat lady isn’t even out of bed yet.

  3. Smokie – I like the look of Warner too. He’ll go out to some less than flattering shots from time to time but I hope he has fewer brain fades than Haddin. He also looks like a bit of a fighter. I like that.

  4. Smoke, I didn’t see much of Warner at all, but lots of judges are coming around on him. The bit I did see on 9, the commentary team were a united voice of approval, with Tony Greig arguing the case for players who are discovered first in T20. A nice piece of logic from the South African who rightly proposed that just because you are a slogger doesn’t mean you can’t also have a tets-quality technique and temperament.

    I hope to be convinced today.

  5. Dips,
    In all the kerfuffle about Warner just being a slogger (primarily
    media-driven), it has been ignored just how good a driver and puller
    of the ball he is. He does not possess evry shot in the book (who
    does?), but i reckon he is one who will improve as time goes on.

  6. JTH,
    I feel this morning’s session is crucial for a number
    of the Australian batsmen.
    One who is really concerning me is M Hussey; he
    has of late discovered some unusual ways to be
    dismissed.

  7. The fat lady has put the taxi on hold and is having scones and cream while she waits.

    Dame Kiri (is that really Kerrie) is warming up the vocal chords

  8. John Butler says:

    Smoke, Huss found a very conventional way to get out today. Miss the first one on the stumps.

  9. Aaaahhhhh, eeeehhhhh, doh, rhe, meeeee!

  10. Aaaahhhhh, eeeehhhhh, doh, rhe, meeeee!

    Now we only neeeeeeed threeeeee!

  11. Ians Chappell and Healy were on Ch 9 at the lunch break talking about
    the Australian team for Boxing Day. They had Usman out of the team,
    which I reckon is ridiculous.

    I cannot understand the logic of both Ponting and M Hussey remaining
    if they are both struggling. Hussey looks worse than anyone at the moment.
    Remember, it is supposed to be easier batting at #6.

    Haddin and Siddle just out in the same over.

  12. Aaaahhhhh, eeeeeeeeeee, that was lucky

  13. Agreed Smokie.

    Ponting is now officially gorn.

    (Old Jungle Saying)

    So is Australia, by the way.

  14. John Butler says:

    Brilliant match.

    NZ by 7 runs.

    Well bowled Doug Bracewell. Well batted David Warner.

  15. Skip of Skipton says:

    Boxing day line up should be: Warner, Cowan, Marsh, Khawaja, Clarke, Watson, Wade, ??????, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon.

    Hughes, Ponting, Mr.Cricket and Haddin all need to go. I would expect Ponting and Mr.Cricket to be given a pointless stay of execution. The reasoning will be the need for experience etc.

    I’m glad the Blairck Cairps won.

  16. Skip, just thinking about that.

    Warner, Cowan, Marsh, Khawaja (on notice) Clarke, Watson, Wade (till Paine gets fit) Siddle, Pattison, Starc (worth another go / he’s young and will learn), Lyon.

    If they can’t biet the Koywoys they will not get near India so they may as well experiment.

    They may learn something about a few others in the lead up games.

    Ban 20 / 20. It’s un-Australian.

  17. Damo Balassone says:

    This result proves once and for all that the NSW top & middle order isn’t quite good enough to get us over the line against the worst in the world.

    Of course, we all admit they produce the best cricketers though.

  18. Its been a good year for Australian sport – rugby loss to Ireland, soccer loss to Qatar, cricket loss to New Zealand – I’ve probably missed a few.

    Is anyone in the great sporting bureaucracy getting nervous? No way. Its starting to swallow up resources for no result faster than the cesspit in Canberra.

    Remember Jabba The Hutt?

  19. You almost had me till I read the second bit Damo.

  20. Good thing we had footy Dips……………some of us anyway.

  21. Khawaja’s had to come in and bat at three (behind a woeful opening combination), so I believe he should be persevered with.

    Still find it a bit of a disgrace that when Australia’s up against it, our skipper is still leading from behind, hiding at number 5.

    Along with Ponting et al, the Vodafone Man of the Match has to go… the PR guy who came up with this idea should be kicked hard in the pussy.

  22. Tony Roberts says:

    A great rearguard by Warner (gulp!) and Lyon, but the stats were against them. They needed 4 more to win than Australia’s ONLY-ever last wicket winning pair (Ring and Johnston v West Indies, MCG, 1952).

    Let’s face it, when the going gets desperate in Test cricket, Australia gets dire – especially since Headingley 1981. Look at the following stats (results since Headingley 1981 in brackets):

    Chasing team wins by 2 wickets: all Tests in history (T) 17; Australia (A) involved in 9: W6/L3 (3/0);
    Chasing team wins by 1 wicket: T 12; A 6: W1/L5 (0/3);
    Chasing team loses, falls 11-20 runs short: T 14; A 10: W3/L7 (1/4);
    Chasing team loses, falls 1-10 runs short: T 9; A8: W3/L5 (0/5).

    The last of the three Tests that we won by under 10 runs was in 1902. Oddly (or significantly), all four of our recent tight wins were overseas. In 1992, we won in Colombo by 16 runs when Shane Warne came of age, and all three 2-wicket victories since 1997 were obtained in Choker Central (South Africa), most recently by Pat Cummins and Mitchell Johnson (remember them?) at the Wanderers only 3 weeks ago.

  23. First off: well played New Zealand. Excellent exhibition of swing bowling.
    Also had the worst of the conditions, having been sent in on a green-top.
    Had Australia batted first, this game would have been over yesterday!

    Amid the clamour to sack Hughes amid sack Usmanis the inconvenient
    truth tis hat at 1-2-3 Australia has batsmen who have played 17, 2 and 6
    Test matches respectively. Hiding behind them at 4-5-6 are batsmen who
    have played 158, 76 and 66 Tests respectively. Something is not quite
    right there. Remember, Ponting began his career at #6.

  24. I reckon the loss is the best thing to happen to Australian cricket and it’s supporters (including me) in years.

    It’s only cricket after all.

  25. Whilst sad to watch the batting collapses, I’ll see Litza’s condemnation of the PR guy and raise you the Gatorade drinks break guys.

    Amongst a sea of batting mediocrity and despair, these two guys on segueways with enormous bottles on their backs strike me as the greatest piece of creative marketing since an Arden St marketing manager once said ‘now why hasn’t anyone ever paraded an elephant around the boundary at half time so football supporters up to pussy’s bow on full strength beer can yell at it? What coudl go wrong there?

    Don’t you just want to be there when that Gatorade idea was pitched?

    Sean

    PS: Looking for positives, Lyon has played above expectations, doing a spinners job of cleaning up the tail, good economy rate, not the worst 11 we have had and now has a few matches under his belt before a huge test against the Indians.

  26. Sean, there’s clearly too much lead paint on the walls at the Gatorade marketing office.

    In so far as the future of Australian cricket itself, never fear, reality TV will save us – http://www.fox8.tv/shows/cricket-superstar/the-show/host.

    I think if Keith Miller knew that someday we’d resort to this, he’d have just let the Germans win.

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