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Monday, December 01, 2008

McCullum's aggressive fightback in losing cause highlights NZ batting ineptitude: Second Test Day 4

Australia 535 defeated New Zealand 270 and 203 (B McCullum 84 no, B Lee 5/105, M Johnson 3/29) by an innings and 62 runs: Second Test Day 4 at Adelaide

The New Zealand top order threw in the towel as, in the face of some hostile bowling in the first session, the team crumbled from 0/35 to 5/83. Brett Lee bowled especially well, while Stuart Clark maintained pressure from the other end and was unlucky not to pick up a wicket and Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz kept up the pressure against embarassingly weak batting. The highlight of the morning was Ricky Ponting's catch to dismiss Jamie How. Don't take my word for it: click on the link to judge for yourself.

Another wicket fell immediately after lunch before the lower order batsmen supported Brendon McCullum in adding 119 for the last 4 wickets. This didn't prevent the defeat which had looked inevitable since halfway through the first day, but it did show what, with more application, might have been.
McCullum's innings began cautiously. Not until number 10 Iain O'Brien joined him and showed some defensive skill, did he begin to hit out. The pair added 50, of which O'Brien's contribution was 0 from 38 balls, before McCullum kept the inept Chris Martin from the strike while they added another 22 before Martin inevitably succumbed to Mitchell Johnson for yet another duck (and pair).

McCullum was left not out with 84/134b/14x4, 2x6. Had one or two of the top six been a third as good as him Australia would still have won but would have had to bat again.


Cricinfo coverage

Update 2 December

In today's Australian (not yet online) Mike Coward has a good summary of New Zealand's performance in the Test. His views, with which I concur, are summed up in the headline "Vettori has right to feel affronted by lacklustre team" and the first two sentences

By its rank ineptitude the New Zealand cricket team has publicly offended its captain, Daniel Vettori, and rendered Test cricket another disservice.

Young, raw and naive the team may be but there can be no excuse for the lily-livered batting which abruptly ended proceedings yesterday and ensured the Trans-Tasman Trophy reamins in Australia, where it has resided for the last 15 years.
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