Australia v New Zealand – Second Test, Day 3: Unbeatable lead set up

Travelled in with a Sri Lankan couple this morning on the train who naturally are ardent cricket supporters. So engrossed in the game is that they were first in line for a seat in the Members today. To quote the woman “We go everywhere that the Aussies go and next up we will be in Bangladesh for the First Test”. There is no doubt that the people from the sub-continent love their cricket beyond what any person of Anglo-Saxon heritage could ever imagine.


Next stop was at the corner of Swanston and Collins street where I caught up with a very lost Jeremy Coney who was looking for a Telco outlet. Naturally we started talking cricket and in particular how visiting sides are disadvantaged when it comes to lead up games to a new series. We both agreed that this is one area in which the International leaders of the game are failing miserably.   Its like saying to visiting teams “you can come if you like but your lead-up game will be against the Nar Nar Goon – Maryknoll combine and then good luck for the series”.


The people are still coming in for the game but the “experts on the tram” are predicting that New Zealand will fall to the onslaught of this bowling attack which is on a par with India as the best attack in the world.


What a great start for Australia. Ross Taylor, the big hope, survives a DRS but goes soon after when Labuschagne at third slips virtually handballs to Burns at first for an easy catch.  Taylor out for 4 and the Kiwis 3/46.  It becomes 4/46 when Nicholls is plumb LBW to Cummins but reviews the decision.


Latham (10) should have gone next over caught by Burns but Smith dived right in front of the Queenslander and dropped the catch. New Zealand should have been 5 out for 48. Pattinson and Cummins were in complete control and it was not surprising when Watling (7) edged to Burns again of Pattinson 5/58 and in big trouble.   Burns should have had three catches except for the mistake by Smith.


De Grandhomme (11) falls to Starc, who has worked up great pace, caught by Warner and at 6/96 it has been a great morning for the home side.


Another DRS when Santner (0) reviews a caught behind OUT to Starc.  He wins his appeal but Starc and Paine are far from happy and they have a long discussion with umpire Erasmus who had originally given Santner out.  The area of concern was between the top of his glove and his elbow and it was a very fine line between “out” and “in”.


Latham has been stoic, as well as attacking Lyon, and he is holding his side together.  At lunch New Zealand are 6/102 and it has been a wonderful morning for this great Australian bowling triumvite of Cummins, Pattinson and Starc.


The Australians continue their demolition derby after lunch with Cummins and Pattinson continuing their lethal work. Latham (50), Santner (3) and Southee (10) all caught behind by Paine. Cummins has taken 5/26 in another brilliant display as New Zealand tumble to 9/124. Boult and Wagner take a few of Lyon who hasn’t bowled well in this game but the innings comes to an end when Starc bowls Boult for 8 and Wagner remains not out 18.  New Zealand all out 148.  Cummins 5/28, Pattinson 3/34 and Starc 2/30 took the wickets.


Paine does not enforce the follow on and you can bet “pounds to peanuts” that New Zealand’s Plan A will be in full operation for the remainder of the day. Paine’s refusal to enforce the follow on just continues the ruse of the Aussies past where they continually failed in the fourth innings. The five and a half inches between each ear seems just as bad for cricketers as it does golfers.


The fact that Australia are batting again has put a bit of a damper on the afternoon. They will score runs, New Zealand will try and contain them and the game will dawdle on. The 50 partnership comes up and it does the show the mindset of the two batsmen. Warner 33 of 52 balls and Burns 7 of 47. Warner knows his place in the team is assured for as long as he likes and Burns having a question mark well and truly dangled in front of him with his position in the team at stake.


Warner, intent on pushing up the scoring rate, takes a step towards square leg to punch Wagner through the covers only succeeds in hitting the ball direct to substitute Blundell at short cover.  Australia 1/62 with Warner out for 38. Wagner continues to drop short on the leg to the right-handers and Labuschagne obliges by launching a counter attack.  There has been much criticism about Williamson’s field placings for Wagner and it being described as Bodyline but as I recall the bodyline field placing were 2 on the off and 7 on the on side with most of those in close catching positions. Wagner’s field is deep square leg (on the boundary), fine leg deep, square leg, mid-wicket and mid-on = 5 on the leg.  Not Body Line in my mind.


The Queenslanders have now settled in to a rhythm and are looking very comfortable against the bowling. Credit to Santner though who has obviously been stung by the criticism levelled at him yesterday and is bowling very tidily and not giving runs away.


Labuschagne (19) is run out as he sets of for a quick single when he turns Santner to leg but a splendid piece of work by Latham sees him short of his ground.  Australia 2/100 and the score is starting to mount with a lead of 429 and 2 days and 40 minutes of play remaining.


Burns (35) often plays to far from his body but this time he plays the ball too close and the ball tickles through to Watling. Santner has his wicket at


Wagner returns to take on SPD Smith and the former captain falls for the sucker ball again lifting Wagner gently to Tim Southee at backward square leg.  Warrior Wagner has won another battle and in this series has made Smith looking pretty ordinary on occasions.  Smith’s unorthodoxy has let him down and except for the first innings in this match he has had a pretty ordinary summer. Wagner has now claimed his wicket four times and Smith has scored just 22 runs from the Warrior and not once have the umpires called “no-ball” or the crowd hooted for intimidatory bowling. Smith’s wicket was Wagner’s’ 200th in 47 matches.   Australia are now 4/110


The contingent of New Zealand supporters are giving their team great moral support with their singing and chanting. Their boys are a long way behind but knowing them they will continue to fight with hope.


In fact, most of the action is coming from the crowd who have probably had their lungs lubricated for the day as the two new batsmen Head and Wade probably still feel that they have something to prove to the selectors and are slowly finding their way in this second dig.


Another fine crowd today with the total attendance 43,603 making an overall attendance for the first three days of 183,752 and certainly making a statement for more Test matches between the two countries in Melbourne.


Great news from overseas that the great Clive Lloyd has been given a knighthood for his services to cricket.  Lloyd 75 has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport.


At stumps Australia 4/137 (Wade 15, Head 12) a lead of 456 with two days play to go.



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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Thanks for your ongoing efforts, CB. One team wants to win, the other is trying hard not to lose too badly. I hope the declaration comes at about 500 in front, then a short burst of full pace before lunch and an afternoon of sustained attack. Travis Head will have batted on all four days! Any precedent? Cummins gets the kudos but Pattinson was impressive also. A tough call coming up when Hazlewood is fit – a fearsome foursome plus the GOAT, Paine and just five batsmen? Will probably depend on the circumstances at different venues.

  2. IH – At least 10 players have batted for the first four days of a Test Match Ian Botham leads the pack by batting all 5 Days of a Test Match!
    Australia as I have mentioned have the best barrage of fast bowlers in the world. Who would you leave out?
    As the only Victorian in the line-up I would play Pattinson always or on rotation. He is a bit unpredictable and always likely to do something different. Playing 4 fasties anywhere is fraught with danger.
    Looking back only the West Indies under Clive (sorry Sir Clive) Lloyd could get away with it. This is where Australia are crying out for an all-rounder. Don’t think Marnus measures up in that.

  3. Citrus Bob never a truer word spoken than re the lack up of warm up games for visiting sides if only it wasn’t all about $$$ and for the betterment of the game love to see less focus on the short game and more on test cricket alas we know that ain’t happening

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