Sunday 19 November 2017 / 04:28 AM

NZ v Aus series wash-up: Studs & Duds

Australia finished off the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch with a minimum of fuss on Day 5, picking off the required 131 runs for the loss of just two more batsmen to seal a convincing seven-wicket victory.

The result clinched a 2-0 series win and saw the Aussies regain the world Test No.1 ranking.

In pursuit of the target of 201, Usman Khawaja (46) fell with the score on 113, edging Tim Southee to retiring skipper Brendon McCullum, who took a trademark sharp chance at slip.

Steve Smith (53 not out off 46) upped the tempo, while man-of-the-match Joe Burns (65) was bowled by Trent Boult just before lunch. Smith and Adam Voges (10 not out) finished the job soon after the interlude.

McCullum, whose record-breaking century of the first day of his last Test provided yet another indelible memory to a unique career, paid tribute to his team and fans – as well as the dominant Australians – in a poignant, uplifting farewell speech.

Studs

 

AUSTRALIA

Adam Voges: Made the most of a now-infamous no-ball reprieve in Wellington to post another double-century, taking man-of-the-match honours with his 239 from 362 balls that gave him a Bradman-like average. The late-blooming No.5’s incredible run of form continued with 60 and 10 not out in Christchurch.

Steve Smith: Scores of 71, 138 and 53 not out made for a stellar series with the bat for Smith after a patchy limited-overs period, while his captaincy was first-rate and fielding absolutely spectacular.

Joe Burns: Missed out in Wellington with a four-ball duck but cemented his place at the top of the order with a 170 in Christchurch that took the game away from the Kiwis, while his patient 62 in the second innings helped prevent any chance of a dramatic collapse.

Usman Khawaja: Produced a spell-binding 140 and took four out-field catches in the first Test. Certainly making the most of his opportunity this summer, although he’ll be disappointed to not go on with two starts (24 and 45) at Hagley Oval.

Josh Hazlewood: Relished his role as Australia’s newest pace spearhead, taking six wickets in Wellington and another three in Christhurch. Probably deserved more scalps for his toil, constantly troubling the Kiwi batsmen and maintaining an economy rate of 3.23. Bowled 14 more overs than any other bowler from either side.

Nathan Lyon: Topped the series wicket tally with 10 scalps, luring the Black Caps into mistimed shots with some wily, patient bowling. The spin whiz made an important contribution with the bat in Christchurch, scoring 33 as nightwatchman.

Jackson Bird: After taking just one wicket in Wellington, Bird justified his call-up with two wickets in the first innings in Christchurch before taking a career-best 5/59 in the second innings – including three in the space of 10 balls when the game was threatening to get away from Australia.

James Pattinson: Ruled unfit for the first Test, Pattinson was superb at Hagley Oval, returning match figures of 6/156.

NEW ZEALAND

Brendon McCullum: After missing out twice in Wellington, it appeared there would be no fairytale farewell for the captain. Then he produced the fastest century in Test history in Christchurch, finishing with 145 off just 79 balls. Signed off with a quick-fire 25 and took four catches for the match. A champion to the end.

Corey Anderson: Made 38 in the first innings in Wellington, before a blistering 72 off 66 alongside McCullum and a dogged 40 in the second Test. Toiled hard with the ball, picking up three wickets.

Tom Latham: A tough series for the young opener with Martin Guptill regularly leaving him posted, but scores of 63 in the first Test and a hard-fought 39 in the second earned him a pass mark.

BJ Watling: Missed out with the bat in Wellington but made two telling contributions – 58 and 46 – in the second Test to break out of a lean trot, while he gloved five catches for the series.

Neil Wagner: Coming into the side for the second Test, Wagner was an absolute workhorse. Took a career-best 6/106 with a short-pitched barrage in Australia’s first innings, before picking up another in the second despite the pain of a broken hand. Bowled more than any Kiwi bowler in each innings to put Boult and Southee to shame.

Matt Henry: Showed enough with the ball to suggest he’s worthy of playing more Test cricket, but his superb 66 in the second innings at Hagley Oval gave the Kiwis a semi-competitive fourth-innings target to bowl at.

Mark Craig: NZ’s best batsman in the first Test with 41 not out and 33 not out, while he also took two superb caught-and-bowled wickets before unluckily being left out in Christchurch.

Duds

 

AUSTRALIA

David Warner: After sealing his reputation as the best opener in world cricket, it just didn’t happen for Warner in New Zealand, averaging 13 with a high-score of 22.

Mitch Marsh: Bowled well in NZ’s second innings in the first Test, taking 3/73, but managed just one scalp in Christchurch and was torn apart by McCullum and Anderson. No joy with the bat yet again, scoring 0 and 18 in two knocks for the series – a major concern for Australia’s anointed No.6.

NEW ZEALAND

Martin Guptill: A 45 in the second innings in Wellington was his best effort, otherwise scoring 18, 18 and 0. A massive buzz-killer after his Test ton against Sri Lanka and a dominant run in limited-overs internationals. No answer to the Australian bowlers away or at home this summer.

Kane Williamson: His fighting 97 in Christchurch notwithstanding, Williamson endured a disappointing series by his lofty standards. So dependable in recent times no matter what the match situation, the brilliant captain-in-waiting fell for 16, 22 and 7 in his first three knocks when New Zealand desperately needed a trademark big score.

Tim Southee: An entertaining 48 from 23 when the first Test was already lost was a rare highlight for pace stalwart Southee. Too loose and lacked penetration with the ball, finishing with series figures of 3/202. It had started so well, too, by removing both openers in the first three overs of Australia’s innings in Wellington.

Trent Boult: Like Southee, revered ‘swing king’ Boult was supposed to be a trump for the Kiwis in home conditions. An early breakthrough on Day 1 was a rare timely strike for Boult, who finished with series figures of 5/269. Again, his big-hitting lower-order antics were the highlight, scoring 50 runs at 16.66 coming in at No.11.

Henry Nicholls: A dogged 59 in the second innings in Wellington showed his promise, but scores of 8, 7 and 2 in his other three knocks – surviving for just 35 balls – were not good enough from a No.4 who is being touted as the man to fill the gap left by McCullum.  

[YouTube – The Tight Five]

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