Australia wrapped up an emphatic 208-run win over New Zealand in the first Trans-Tasman Trophy Test at the Gabba, claiming the tourists’ seven remaining wickets before lunch on the final day.
Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum was in swashbuckling form and the Kiwis remained a chance of surviving – or even pulling off a miracle victory – while he was at the crease.
But he swiftly began to run out of quality partners. Ross Taylor (26) succumbed to Josh Hazlewood in the fifth over of the day, while injured all-rounder James Neesham (3) never looked comfortable in his 33-ball stay, caught at short leg off a brutal Mitchell Johnson bouncer.
When BJ Watling (14) was sent on his way lbw by Nathan Lyon after an unsuccessful review, New Zealand were on the ropes at 6/242.
It was all but over six balls later when McCullum’s run-a-ball 80 came to an end via a dud umpire’s call. The skipper clearly missed Mitch Marsh’s delivery with his bat, but it bounced off his pads and he was given out caught by counterpart Steve Smith at slip.
After ill-advisedly using up their reviews on lbw decisions against Kane Williamson and Watling, McCullum had no recourse to get the unfair dismissal overturned.
Marsh then trapped Doug Bracewell leg-before next ball and Tim Southee’s stay lasted only five balls. Mark Craig (26 not out) and Trent Boult (15) put on 46 for the last wicket, but they were merely delaying the inevitable and Starc finished the innings at 295 by having Boult caught-behind.
Stud of the day
The entire Australian bowling attack contributed to mopping up the New Zealand batting order on Day 5, but Brendon McCullum was the standout individual. After a first-innings failure, McCullum was in devastating touch, blasting 10 fours and two sixes in two thrilling hours at the crease.
Brendon McCullum is reason enough to come down to the Gabba! Sensational to watch!! Possibly my favourite cricketer. pic.twitter.com/gDDlGYwXO5
— Neroli Meadows (@Neroli_M_FOX) November 9, 2015
Meanwhile, the captain’s response to his controversial dismissal enhanced his reputation as one of cricket’s greatest ambassadors:
“That’s the game isn’t it? I think Nigel Long and Richard Illingworth are two of the best umpires in world cricket and they’re allowed to make the occasional mistake.
“That’s the game that we play and again you’ve got to cop it sweet. It’s disappointing but that’s the game we play. We had a couple of reviews and we took those opportunities and in the end we weren’t able to use one later on.
“It’s not the winning or losing of the game. We lost by 200-odd runs and Australia deserved their victory. We’ll cop it on the chin.”
Stud of the match
David Warner’s twin centuries – becoming just the third player in Test history to achieve the feat three times – made him an obvious choice as man-of-the-match. The world’s best opener by quite a margin.
It’s a long road back for the Kiwis as the series moves on to the second Test at the WACA, starting on Friday. Neesham is out for the series and Southee is in considerable doubt as back injuries bite into an already struggling bowling attack. Neil Wagner and Mitchell McClenaghan have joined the squad as cover, while uncapped Mitchell Santner is a chance to come in as an all-rounder.
Australia’s new-look line-up, meanwhile, has no such worries, with all 11 players contributing strongly – and some brilliantly – in a comprehensive team performance. But the lessons of the Ashes series, where Australia went down after scoring a crushing victory over England in the second Test, should ensure the hosts don’t take their eyes off the prize over the remaining two encounters.
- Australia have won 20 and drawn seven of their last 27 Tests at the Gabba, unbeaten at the ground since West Indies’ notched a victory there in 1988.
- The 208-run margin was Australia’s third-biggest, in terms of runs, against New Zealand.
- With his two sixes on Day 5, McCullum climbed into equal-third spot with Jacques Kallis for most sixes in Test cricket with 97 – one behind Chris Gayle and just three adrift of record-holder Adam Gilchrist.