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Friday, December 04, 2015

Reflections on Australia's 2-0 series win v NZ

Australia 224 (Nevill 66, Smith 53) & 7/187 (S Marsh 49, Boult 5/60) def New Zealand 202 (Latham 50)  & 208 (Santner 45, Hazlewood 6/70) by 3wkts with 2 days to spare: T3/3 D3/5 at Adelaide Oval. Australia won Trans Tasman series 2-0. Player of the match: Josh Hazlewood, Player of the series: David Warner.

A low scoring Test concluded, unusually (perhaps unprecedently for Adelaide) in 3 days. Australia made relatively hard work of securing victory after having NZ 6/116 just after play began on D3. The Black Caps tail, marshalled by Mitchell Santner on debut, fought hard against an Australia attack minus injured Mitchell Starc, but in the face of Josh Hazlewood's skill and persistence were unable to set the 200+ target which might have stretched Australia's relatively thin-looking batting against the pink ball under lights. Trent Boult belatedly showed what a good bowler he is but Shaun Marsh, supported by his brother Mitchell in a crucial 5th wicket partnership, guided Australia to a victory which, if not particularly convincing, was (as two wickets fell close to the target) more comfortable than it appeared. 

Only once did NZ hold the initiative: in Australia's first innings when the home team were 8/116 and had a DRS review turned down by the 3rd umpire in the face of a lot of evidence which would have made the score 9/118. Yes, it was galling for everyone at the ground and watching on TV (where the audio revealed even more of umpire Llong's uncertainty), to wait what seemed like an eternity (perhaps 5 mins) for the decision. But NZ should have refocused and got on with it. By persisting with mostly spin when the pace bowlers had shown themselves (notwithstanding 2 wickets in an over from Mark Craig) more penetrative, they let Peter Nevill with support from Nathan Lyon and Starc (on one good leg) lead Australia to what in Adelaide Test terms still looked inadequate, but turned out to be the highest total of the match.

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