Australia seal series 2-0Jonathan Augustus |
Australia clinched the test series against New Zealand on the 4th day of the 3rd test, as they won the third test, sealing the series 2-0. In a match with, to be brutally honest, little excitement, Australia always seemed to have control as NZ struggled to stay in the match. At the start of day 4 New Zealand were already in plenty of trouble at 2/11, with Hamish Marshall and skipper Stephen Fleming at the crease. NZ sunk into an even deeper hole when Fleming fell to Jason Gillespie, thanks to a freak catch by Dizzy himself off his own bowling. NZ were then 3/15, but it got worse. Hamish Marshall was caught behind by Gilchrist only 8 runs later, as he became McGrath’s 498th test scalp. At 4/23, it seemed like the game, and series, was nearing its finish.
Then Nathan Astle and Lou Vincent attempted to change the pace of the game. Vincent attacked the bowling, particularly Jason Gillespie, as he hit his 40 runs off just 33 balls, including four 4s and two 6s. After an impressive 70 run stand with Astle, the Aussies were able to end it before it became a worry, as Vincent was tragically run out by Michael Clarke after making a bad call. Any hope NZ had seemed to have ended right there. McCullum came and went in quick time after that, and suddenly at 6/93 it looked curtains for New Zealand.
The MVP of New Zealand cricket had something to say however, as Daniel Vettori, in typical Vettori style, put in for his team and stuck at the crease with Astle, slowly grinding a further 81 runs before Astle fell to Warne for a well played 69. Vettori still stuck to his guns however, and batted with the tail thanks to a bit of support from Franklin and Wiseman. Franklin fell to Warne when the score was 220, and 7 runs later Vettori had had enough, and attempted to hit Shane Warne out of the park. Unfortunately he didn’t get a hold of it, and it fell straight into McGrath’s hands leaving Vettori out on a very well played 65. Ironically enough, McGrath’s catch ensured that he would not be able to get 500 wickets in this test match. He was able to get 499 however, as he bowled Wiseman for 23, leaving NZ all out for 254.
Australia’s target was just 164 runs, and they clearly had intentions of ending the match early as Langer and Ponting (after Hayden was run out by… you guessed it, Daniel Vettori) took it to the Kiwi bowlers. Martin went for 51 off his 8, and Franklin went for 40 off his 7, as Australia charged towards the target in only 29.3 overs. Langer ended up not out on 59 off just 76 balls, and Ponting secured the MOTM award with another quickfire innings, this time scoring 86 off 84 balls.
Australia were dominant throughout the series, and if it wasn’t for rain, would have swept this series clean 3-0 without any doubt. They have once again shown in this series that they are simply a class above every other test team in the world at the moment, and even though NZ had some crucial injuries, their efforts in this series bar Daniel Vettori and Hamish Marshall were definitely not up to scratch.
Status Of Play: Match Completed – Australia win
New Zealand (1st Innings): all out for 292
Australia (1st Innings): all out for 383
New Zealand (2nd Innings): all out for 254
Australia (2nd Innings): 1/166
Australia win by 9 wickets, and win the 3 test series 2-0