Bowlers, Labuschagne fire Australia to easy win

15 December 2019 06:43 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The bowlers gave Australia a massive win

In the second innings of the 1993 Auckland Test between Australia and New Zealand, the latter needed a spark of inspiration to script a win and level the Test series 1-1. Martin Crowe, the then New Zealand captain, took inspiration from the side's impressive show in the 1992 World Cup by opening the bowling with Dipak Patel. On a track that offered some assistance for spinners, Patel spun a web around Australia's batsmen to clean them up for 285 and lay the path for a famous five-wicket win.

Almost 26 years later, New Zealand again needed a lift, while chasing a massive target of 468. The visitors had won a solitary Test against Australia since their memorable victory in Auckland all those years ago. However, on a Day 4 track that had started to offer variable bounce, the trio of Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc ripped through the opposition ranks to bundle out the tourists for 171 to post a comfortable 296-run win.

After Australia had declared their second innings at 217 for 9, the New Zealand camp would have hoped for a solid start. The Australian pace duo of Starc and Cummins, however, immediately showed their calibre by extracting extra bounce, with a few deliveries also keeping slightly low. Raval, who has been in poor form in the recent past, was the first one to be dismissed, edging a lifter from Cummins to gully.

Kane Williamson, the New Zealand bedrock, couldn't make an impression, caught at forward short leg off Lyon for 14. Ross Taylor, New Zealand's top-scorer in the first essay, then fell after the Lunch break. The veteran attempted a pull off a short delivery from Starc, edging it behind. Meanwhile, with enough rough patches around, Lyon was imparting overspin and extracting kicking bounce. It didn't take him long to pick up another wicket, dismissing Latham LBW with the one that was pushed through from round the wicket. The on-field decision was not out, but Paine got it reversed via the review system.

For a while, BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls resisted. Both had a few scares, with a lifter from Cummins smashing into Watling's grille. Eventually, on the brink of Tea, Lyon dislodged Nicholls. The left-hander, who was caught at silly point, went for the review but to no avail. In the final session, Watling and de Grandhomme showed a semblance of fighting spirit. De Grandhomme even started the session by lifting Lyon over long for a six.

Watling, his batting partner, continued to bat with resolve. However, he had a couple of escapes. In the 42nd over, Lyon got one to kick and Watling seemed to have edged one behind, only for Paine to not go for the review. Replays confirmed that Watling had eked out an edge. He had another reprieve when Smith fluffed a sharp chance at slip off Lyon.

With Australia in need of a wicket, Paine went back to his spearhead, Pat Cummins, who immediately made an impact, dismissing de Grandhomme. Watling then got an edge down leg off Starc, as New Zealand slid to 154 for 7. Initially, the loud appeal for a strangle down leg wasn't upheld, but Australia got it overturned by placing their belief in the review. The trio of Starc, Cummins and Lyon then tore through the lower order to seal the deal for the hosts.

It was an impressive effort from Australia's bowlers, especially in the backdrop of Josh Hazlewood suffering a hamstring problem in the first innings, ruling him out of the rest of the Test. The foundation for Australia's easy win was set by Marnus Labuschage, who composed a brilliant ton in the first innings. On the bowling front, Starc bagged nine scalps in the Test. For New Zealand, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner bowled with discipline and penetration. However, barring Taylor, their batsmen struggled to cope with the extra bounce offered by the Perth wicket.

The second Test of the three-match series will be played at the MCG from December 26.

Brief scores: Australia 416 (Marnus Labuschagne 143, Travis Head 56; Neil Wagner 4-92, Tim Southee 4-93) and 217/9 decl. (Joe Burns 53, Marnus Labuschagne 50; Tim Southee 5-69) beat New Zealand 166 (Ross Taylor 80; Mitchell Starc 5-52) and 171 (BJ Watling 40; Mitchell Starc 4-45, Nathan Lyon 4-63) by 296 runs

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