Ponting destroys NZ

New Zealand started day 2 in a bit of trouble at 199/5, thanks to late wickets on day 1. Despite solid performances from Hamish Marshall and skipper Stephen Fleming, Australia were able to keep the scoring rate very low, and eventually break through NZ’s with patient bowling performances from McGrath and co. Unfortunately for NZ both Marshall and Fleming were back in the pavilion at the end of day 1, leaving Nathan Astle and Brendon McCullum to start day 2 for New Zealand. They were only able to put on an extra 29 runs before Astle fell victim to McGrath. NZ continued to lose frequent wickets for no more than 20 runs per wicket, as McCullum fell after Astle 19 runs later, again to McGrath. Franklin, Wiseman and Martin all followed as Australia cleaned up NZ, allowing them to only add a further 93 runs to their total. They ended up all out for 292. McGrath ended with 3 wickets as did Warne, and Gillespie and Kaspa provided top-quality support both grabbing 2 wickets each.

When Australia came out to bat there was a definite feeling that New Zealand were a good 100-150 runs short of a competitive total, but Franklin managed to give NZ some hope, as he removed Justin Langer early forcing him to play on to his stumps by cramping him for room. However this is where the temperament of the game changed. Australian captain Ricky Ponting came to the crease, and single handedly changed the momentum of the game, smashing the ball to all parts. The New Zealand bowlers had no answers to his aggressive mindset, which was quite the opposite to the way the NZ batsman batted in their first innings. The juxtaposition of both team’s mindsets was palpable. New Zealand batted with patience, however eventually allowed the Aussie bowlers to come out on top, where as Australia took it to the NZ bowlers, lead by ‘Punter’, putting them under the pump straight away.

Hayden later fell to Franklin via LBW with a beautiful delivery, but Ponting continued his demolition with Martyn accompanying him in the middle. Ponting brought up his century off just 104 deliveries, and was eventually removed for 105 by none other than part-timer Nathan Astle by edging a ball down leg side. It was probably the only way Ponting was going to go out, as he looked unstoppable out in the middle smashing 13 fours and 4 sixes.

With Ponting and Martyn’s 103 run partnership coming to an end, there was light at the end of the tunnel for NZ, and this was exemplified even further when Wiseman bowled Damien Martyn with a ripping off-break delivery. Australia were 4/215, still 77 runs behind New Zealand. Skipper Ricky Ponting was not willing to take any risks, and opted to bring out Jason Gillespie out as night watchman to finish the day’s proceedings along with Michael Clarke. No more wickets fell as Gillespie was able to do his job for the captain. Australia ended the day’s play at 4/219, 73 runs behind New Zealand’s 1st innings total.

At the end of day 2 it was clear that Australia still had the clear advantage, but with Martyn and Ponting removed there was still a glimmer of hope for New Zealand if they could remove the out of form Clarke early on day 3, as well as the frustratingly brilliant occupier of the crease, Dizzy Gillespie. Whatever happens, Day 3 looks to be a day where one side will take charge. Who it will be we will have to wait and see.

Status Of Play: Stumps – Day 2

New Zealand (1st Innings): all out for 292
Australia (1st Innings): 4/219

Australia trail by 73 runs with 6 wickets in hand

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Jonathan Augustus