Almanac Cricket – Australia v New Zealand: Third Test Blog

“The Cricketer”
by Kate Birrell


The home-based summer of Test cricket reaches its final port of call when Australia and New Zealand meet at the SCG today. The series may well be gone but surely we can expect New Zealand to go all out to restore some pride after their drubbings in Perth and Melbourne. Essentially, they’ve lost every battle in the series to date. Even the so-called ‘win’ over Steve Smith has been little more than a curtailment – Smith’s 85 in the first innings in Melbourne was critical to Australia’s large total which killed off any NZ prospects in that match.


Of particular interest will be the tactics employed by the visitors given that their Plan A of short and wide bowling to defensive fields failed dismally in the first two Tests. The injury to Trent Boult hasn’t helped their cause. Will they go in with two spinners or will Michael Santner also be replaced? Can Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor finally fond form? All eyes and all the pressure, is surely on New Zealand in this game.


By contrast, Australia’s biggest problem would seem to be complacency. Not renowned for ‘icing’ series, do the Aussies have the killer instinct necessary to make it a clean sweep? But we’ll also be interested to see if Mitchell Swepson is given a debut on what is expected to be the wicket most receptive to spin. Or do the selectors keep a winning combination together?


As the days unfold, feel free to add your observations and thoughts to our Third Test blog.


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  1. Extraordinary changes to the Kiwis side. Beware the wounded opponent? Souther’s absence is very strange.

  2. Southee.

  3. Ian Hauser says

    When was the last time a team faced such massive changes, forced or otherwise? Perhaps Windies during the Packer era when the whole team was changed mid-series?

  4. citrus bob says

    Dips – I reckon Tim Southee’s absence is that the NZers are looking to keep him on ice and give the other guys a go.
    Smith determined not give up his wicket today – 40 balls before his first run.
    Yes, beware the wounded warrior – this is team that is all courage and not many stars.
    IH Not sure but Australia mad a few changes when SA walloped them in Hobart but i think you are right. Get the great Rick Findlay on the job.
    Hate missing a Test Match but maybe I picked the right one.

  5. Citrus the Aussies might make 500 here. The Kiwis can’t get 10 wickets let alone 20 on current indications. A lot of people at the SCG will probably hit the bars. Good test to miss. And yet no criticism of the pitch like at the MCG!

  6. David O’Sullivan, Mike Shrimpton, Brian Andrews, i doubt if any of these are household names for many Almanackers. You may wonder who they are, or why i mentioned them.

    All three were in the New Zealand side the first time they played a test at the SCG back in 1973-74. Until this test the two sides had only played twice at this ground, the most recent time being in 1985-86 when Bob Holland took a ‘ten for’ as we won our only test for the summer.

    Any how back to the 1973-74 match at the SCG , two days of rain saved us, as New Zealand played wonderful cricket. Jeremy Coney , a future wonderful captain for New Zealand, made his debut in that test.


  7. Terrible shot from wade in the first over of Day 2.

  8. citrus bob says

    Hate to say it but I still have doubts on Wade and Head. Against class attacks they would and do struggle. Burns is gone and I would like to see Harris or Renshaw given a go (like the Marshes). Superlatives are not enough to describe Labuschagne – fantastic. Opposition should watch how far out he gets to drive.
    Credit to the NZers they fought back today to knock over the rest of the Australian team and now the 2 batsmen – Latham and Blundell have decided hey are not to get out tonight!
    Watch out for Marnus (again!) tomorrow with the ball if Astle can turn it Marnus will have a picnic. My prediction despite the fight of New Zealand that the game will end early on the fourth day. Lyon will clean them up in their second dig with Marnus.
    Glen – you have to be a cricket nut to recognise those names and my new bestie Jeremy was a fine all-rounder.

  9. citrus bob says

    Great to see Australian sporting people getting behind the Bushfires that are devastating Australia. Notice the names of 2 prominent sporting people are not in the list I saw today. Pity because they owe Australia a favour and they are not short of shackles..

  10. Given that my cricket consumption is now restricted to ABC radio in the car or the garden – could the ABC please put doddery old Uncle Jim out to pasture. He was on this morning with some unknown NZ water buffalo. They sound like Waldorf & Statler from the Muppet Show. Buffoons and the NZ bloke didn’t know his stats and was making it up as he went along. Give Citrus the gig.

  11. citrus bob says

    Peter _B never thought I would ever agree with you but giving me the “gig’ – fantastic

  12. citrus bob says

    Gave young Raval a bit of a caning during the first test but he is doing the Bolero today – well done.
    No life in the wicket for the fast men. Interesting that their are not that many people there for the “Pink Day”. I think many a mind is on e bush fires and the cancer Appeal is secondary..
    Warnie probably right _Swepson would have been interesting on this wicket.

  13. citrus bob says

    Bugger me Raval slips on the ice and he is OUT next ball!

  14. Bob, you put the moccas on him

  15. Citrus Bob, i’m intrigued at the two missing names.

    I’m aware Nick Kyrgios is going to raise $$, even had the impression Warney is putting his hand in his skyrocket.

    Who may these two be?


  16. citrus bob says

    Glen I was wondering when some one would ask that question of me. These are the people who I know are “putting their best foot forward”
    Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Sam Stosur, Alex De Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, LaMelo Ball,Tommy Berry,
    It is a case of seek and ye shall finds Glen but you know these two very well indeed but even as late as tonight they have not said “boo”.
    Wonderful community attitude by those mentioned above and one day I would like to write a story about the philanthropic sporting people we have out there like Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting,Alex Rance and Patrick Dangerfield. Most of their work goes completely unnoticed by the general public and that is how they like it.
    Glen – read my second blog closely. Otherwise Peter B GOM will help you out!

  17. citrus bob says

    Labuschagne – BE WARNED. Keep your nose out of other people’s business. I wrote in the last test that he needed to be careful with talking too much. Today’s incident was between Warner and the umpire. Also your little antic of walking behind the batsman and the wicket early in NZ second innings did not go unnoticed, Let us hope you continue with your masterful batting and leave it at that.

  18. Citrus,
    In recent times I have not been a fan of Warney, but credit where it is due: his decision to auction off his baggy green cap for bushfire charity is an extraordinary act of generosity.
    It should not be forgotten that Nick Kyrgios was close to the first sportsman to weigh in – others followed his lead.
    Also, I have been most disappointed by this Test series. After the one-sided Pakistani matches, I was hoping for more of a contest.

  19. citrus bob says

    Glenn – let me suggest with a hint “Guns for hire” and not a Colt45 to be seen?

  20. Ta Bob. I’m still thinking ; slowly.


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