NZ vs Aus: Man what a hiding. Again.

No Quarter

No Quarter

December 30th, 2019

As has been mentioned, the key difference between the sides is the bowling. Not that ours have been bad, but I think every batting lineup in the world (including theirs) would struggle against their quicks

Well, that was really crap once again.

As has been mentioned, the key difference between the sides is the bowling. Not that ours have been bad, but I think every batting lineup in the world (including theirs) would struggle against their quicks backed up by the very consistent Lyon in those conditions. We just haven’t been able to survive the new ball so by the time their big boys start to tire, the damage has been well and truly done.

Losing Ferg to injury has turned out to be a real blow for us. We really needed that point of difference against a very disciplined Aus batting lineup. They’ve been batting uncharacteristically slow, grinding our bowlers down and not giving us anything. Wags short stuff has been effective because it’s something different to medium pace swing bowling, and I think Ferg (once his nerves settled) could have made life a lot tougher for them.

Santner should have been dropped for Astle or Henry. He’s not good enough at either discipline in tests so is really a waste of a spot. His bowling really let the pressure off Aus in this test, going at 5s without looking threatening was unforgivable. Just don’t think his game is suited to test match cricket.

Anyway, the positives:

  • Wagner as always. Such a consistent performer, he’s the perfect third seamer in that he offers a point of difference, but can also bowl long spells when the going gets tough.
  • Blundell. Apparently Bryan Young made the team in similar circumstances - had given up the gloves and was slotted into the opening position out of desperation against Aus. Would be great if Blundell can fill that opening slot for us - albeit with a much higher average than Young ended up with! He looked good in the first innings and was absolutely superb in the second. Can handle the pace and bounce easily, so there’s no reason he can’t make the position his own. Before the 2nd test I said I was far from convinced he would fare any better - boy did he prove me wrong, the find of the tour by miles.
  • Warner is still yet to crack a 50 this tour.

That’s it though. Two shining lights in one of the darkest tours in recent memory.

The negatives - far too many to list, but the ones that stand out:

  • Kane’s form was a little patchy leading into this series, and he’s been somewhat found out by the Aus quicks. They’ve worked him over and he’s ended up playing some really poor shots to get out - shows mentally he’s not there. If we wanted to have a chance this series we needed him to score big.
  • After Ross made 80 in the first test in some of the toughest conditions you’ll see, he’s not fired a single shot. Again we needed so much more from him, our two gun batsmen have not been able to handle the Aussie quicks this series.
  • Boult and Southee were good but didn’t get the early wickets we needed. If they don’t get the early breakthroughs with the new ball it becomes fairly easy to bat time against a medium pace attack with an older ball. It’s amazing Wags got so many wickets in those circumstances.
  • And finally, BOWLING FIRST! WTF! That was the single stupidest decision at the toss I’ve ever seen. At 1-0 down I was hoping, praying that we’d win the toss to give us a sporting chance. Aus must have fallen off their bloody chairs when they saw us choose to bowl. What the hell were we thinking?
    On that last point, let’s run through a quick hypothetical to try and illustrate how bad that decision was:

Let’s say we manage to knock Aus over for 250. We’d all be stoked with that and people would say the decision to bowl was justified. Then we come out to bat and really apply ourselves, getting to 400. Again we’d all be over the moon and think we are dominating this test. Aus then come out to bat again and dig in, grinding themselves through to 350 which again we’d have to be happy with.

But hang on, they’ve now set us 200 to win on a day 5 pitch against the best bowling lineup in the world. That would be absolutely massive pressure on our batsmen, trying to handle their quicks steaming in on a dodgy wicket. BATTING LAST IS ALWAYS BY FAR THE HARDEST THING TO DO! There’s a reason the highest ever test chases makes for such dismal reading, it’s damn near impossible.

Bowling first 100% played into their strengths because it meant at the business end of the test they’d have their worlds best bowlers winning it for them, not their batsmen under pressure. It was such an incredibly short-sighted decision and smacked of us running scared, wanting to delay having to face their quicks as long as possible. Not to mention the fact that it’s harder coming out to bat when you’re 400+ runs behind and their bowlers have plenty of runs to play with.

I think choosing to bowl first was the most disappointing part of the whole series. It was so defeatist and it was really hard to see us getting anything more than a draw out of the match from there.

So anyway on to Sydney and we really have nothing to lose. I’d like to see us play some aggressive cricket and restore a little bit of pride, even if it is a dead rubber. Picking a spinner that actually spins it would also be a step in the right direction.

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