A flurry from New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and the last pair couldn’t stop the Black Caps spiralling to a 208-run defeat in the first cricket test against Australia in Brisbane.
Resistance was entertaining but all too brief on the fifth day as New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for 130, with McCullum topscoring with 80 before a controversial dismissal.
New Zealand were all out for 295, 15 minutes after the scheduled start of the lunch break. Australia’s bowlers ripped through the tail before a rollicking 10th wicket stand of 46 between Mark Craig and Trent Boult that saw lunch pushed back. Boult was last out, edging Mitchell Starc as spinner Nathan Lyon (3-63) was the most successful bowler.
It sees Australia go to Perth for Friday’s second test 1-0 up and plenty of work to do for the tourists.
McCullum hit 80 off 80 balls in an entertaining two-hour knock but he was fast running out of partners when he was given out caught at slip off his pad. It was a poor call from umpire Nigel Llong and a fuming McCullum realised New Zealand’s two decision reviews had been used up by Williamson and BJ Watling challenging their lbws, so he had to trudge off at a dire 243-7.
New Zealand were comprehensively outplayed throughout by Australia who notched their 20th test win at the Gabba in an unbeaten streak stretching back to 1988.
Not only were the Black Caps beaten, they were also battered with injured allrounder Jimmy Neesham on the next plane home with his sore back still not up the rigours of test cricket. Senior paceman Tim Southee is also under a cloud for Perth with an irritated disc in his spine, but there remains some hope he will be fit. He will undergo a fitness test when they arrive.
Mitchell McClenaghan joined fellow left-arm quick Neil Wagner as injury replacements and will be competing for a spot in Perth where the Black Caps will likely play four pacemen and potentially call on spin bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner for his test debut.
Bowling is the Black Caps’ big area of improvement after they couldn’t sustain pressure and were smashed by Australia’s batsmen at the Gabba, taking eight wickets in all as Southee broke down. Their batsmen, Kane Williamson excepted, also need to lift a notch for them to be competitive in Perth after they suffered their ninth defeat from their last 11 overseas test series openers.
Opener Tom Latham insisted on Sunday that New Zealand still had victory in their minds before McCullum and Taylor walked out on day five with the Black Caps 142-3. They still required another 362 from a potential 98 overs to reach what would be a world record run chase.
Taylor’s struggles continued when he mistimed a pull shot on 26 and gloved a catch, in the day’s fifth over. The two senior men had carried New Zealand’s hopes and Taylor’s departure was a crippling early blow.
Neesham’s horror test continued when he faced 33 balls for three, before fending a Mitchell Johnson short ball to short leg.
McCullum raised only his second half-century from 14 innings in Australia, counter-attacking in an increasingly hopeless cause. He cleared the fence twice, including a booming hook off Johnson.
Then there was controversy, after Watling was trapped lbw by Lyon to one that spun sharply. He’d used up the Black Caps’ second challenge and they had to wait till the 80th over to get them back. In the 79th, McCullum looped one to slip off Mitchell Marsh via the pad, and was given out by Llong. McCullum gestured angrily when he realised he couldn’t challenge.
Doug Bracewell was trapped lbw first ball by Marsh, then Southee was also given controversially by Llong. With the second new ball, and New Zealand’s two challenges restored, Southee challenged Llong’s caught behind decision off Josh Hazlewood. Replays suggested he missed the ball but he was still given out on evidence of the snickometer.
The morning’s injury news was a bitter blow for Neesham who was sidelined from international cricket for eight months due to a back stress fracture and made his return in Zimbabwe in August. He battled recurring back soreness and clearly didn’t look right as Australia’s batsmen put him to the sword in Brisbane.
He bowled a combined 20 overs in both innings and had figures of 1-111.
“Jimmy has worked hard to get back to fitness following his injury earlier this year, but at this stage still experiences discomfort when bowling extended loads,” coach Mike Hesson said.
“Jimmy will return to New Zealand for further medical assessment and we’ll continue to monitor his situation.
“At this stage our number one priority is getting Jimmy fully healthy and ready for the home summer.”
Day five of the first cricket test in Brisbane:
First innings 556-4 dec
Second innings 264-4 dec
First innings 317
Second innings (142-3 overnight)
T Latham lbw b Starc 29
M Guptill c Smith b Lyon 23
K Williamson lbw b Lyon 59
R Taylor c Smith b Hazlewood 26
B McCullum c Smith b Marsh 80
J Neesham c Burns b Johnson 3
B Watling lbw b Lyon 14
M Craig not out 26
D Bracewell lbw b Marsh 0
T Southee c Nevill b Hazlewood 5
T Boult c Nevill b Starc 15
Extras (b 7, lb 5, wd 2, nb 1) 15
Total (88.3 overs) 295
Fall: 44 (Latham), 98 (Guptill), 136 (Williamson), 165 (Taylor), 205 (Neesham), 242 (Watling), 243 (McCullum), 243 (Bracewell), 249 (Southee), 295 (Boult).
Bowling: M Starc 20.3-5-69-2 (1w), M Johnson 19-6-58-1 (1w), J Hazlewood 18-3-68-2, M Marsh 10-3-25-2 (1nb), N Lyon 21-3-63-3.
Result: Australia won by 208 runs.
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