Australia v New Zealand – Third Test: Day 4 at the SCG

Ross Taylor became New Zealand’s highest run-scorer in the history of Test cricket, but it proved to be a black day for the Black Caps.

 

Regardless of one’s allegiance, it really has to be said that day four was heavily one-sided, with one team simply not looking like it was up to Test standard.

 

Admittedly the New Zealand team was well below full strength for the final Test, but the tour was an immense disappointment for the Kiwis who were ranked number two in the world.

 

True, the Kiwis didn’t have any warm-up games to prepare for the Test series. But I’m sure the Kiwis will not look for excuses.

 

In any case, let’s remember to keep things in perspective. The raging bushfires are of much greater concern.

 

Also it was great to hear that the McGrath Foundation raised more than a million dollars for its cause.

 

Starting the fourth day at 0-40, the Australian openers increased their partnership to 107 before a prodding Joe Burns was adjudged lbw to a Todd Astle wrong ‘un, with New Zealand successfully utilising the DRS.

 

It was unfortunate for Burns to depart for 40 after he had hit two sixes, and looked to be returning to form. But with just 159 runs at 22.71 since scoring 97 in the first Test against Pakistan, Burns left himself in danger of losing his spot.

 

Coming off a double century, Marnus Labuschagne should have been dismissed for just four, but Astle did what Nathan Lyon had done twice the previous day: spill a simple return catch.

 

I’m simply baffled as to why this problem has recurred this season, considering Labuschagne was guilty of the same blunder in a previous Test when he bowled.

 

David Warner was in control as he reached a century after lunch, and was unbeaten on 111 when captain Tim Paine declared at 2-217. The declaration came as soon as Labuschagne slogged a catch to long-on when chasing quick runs.

 

Labuschagne’s score of 59 gave him 274 runs for the match, while he finished with a staggering 896 runs at an average of 112 in the five Tests at home this season.

 

Had Labuschagne scored 10 more runs, he would have broken Wally Hammond’s record for most runs in a five-Test series on Australian soil, with the England champion having set the record way back in 1928-29.

 

Warner meanwhile finished with 786 runs at 131 in the five Tests on home soil this season, a far cry from when he averaged in single figures in five Ashes Tests on England soil beforehand.

 

Bizarrely, the prolific run-scorers incurred a five-run penalty for running on the pitch on day four at the SCG. New Zealand’s target was consequently reduced from 421 to 416, but it was evidently not going to make any difference.

 

Lyon’s fielding showed notable improvement as he held a fine catch to send Tom Blundell on his way, before Mitchell Starc struck again as a successful lbw shout rendered New Zealand 2-4.

 

Jeet Raval and Glenn Phillips were adjudged caught behind off Lyon, with both batsmen unsuccessfully challenging umpire Aleem Dar’s verdict.

 

As if losing four wickets in less than one session wasn’t bad enough, the Kiwis lost their remaining six in the last session.

 

Taylor overtook Stephen Fleming’s record for highest number of Test runs by a Kiwi, but Pat Cummins soon produced a fine delivery that rattled the record-breaker’s stumps.

 

A sixth wicket stand of 69 took place, before the last four wickets fell for 29 runs, with nine-out proving to be all out as Matt Henry didn’t bat due to injury.

 

BJ Watling defended admirably as he was determined to survive, while Colin de Grandhomme went for his strokes in a rearguard action.

 

He passed 50 with a six off Lyon, but he presented a catch to Burns at cow corner next ball.

 

James Pattinson didn’t capture a wicket in the Test but he chipped in with a brilliant running and diving catch to send Astle packing.

 

Somerville avoided a pair of ducks but he was no match for a Starc yorker that uprooted the middle stump, before a catch to square leg chalked up successive five-wicket hauls for Lyon.

 

The last batsman dismissed – Watling – scored just 19 runs but he lasted 150 minutes and faced 108 balls.

 

And so ended the Tests on Australian soil this season, with Pakistan and New Zealand simply not posing any real threat to the home side.

 

India should no doubt be champing at the bit when next season comes around.

 

 

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About Liam Hauser

A Queenslander through and through, Liam went out of his comfort zone as he had a thoroughly worthwhile time in Tumut and Gundagai from 2008 to 2016 before enjoying a year in Gunnedah. His strongest sporting interests are State of Origin, Sheffield Shield, Test cricket and the NRL. His sporting CV doesn’t have many highlights, although he once top-scored in a warehouse cricket match with 54 not out at number 10, and shared in an unbroken last wicket stand of 83 with the number 11 who scored an undefeated 52. Liam has written books including State of Origin 35 Years, A Century of Cricket Tests, A History of Test Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Rugby League, and The Great Grand Finals: Rugby League's Greatest Contests. Also a huge fan of Electric Light Orchestra.

Comments

  1. citrus bob says

    Thanks very much Liam for your reports. We can now look forward to “rest” for the remainder of summer while the other “Games” claim the spotlight. Now looking forward to Bangladesh to see what they have in store for Paine’s men.

  2. John Butler says

    Liam, thanks for your work in this test. Good to have you on board.

    Cheers

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