These are extremely frustrating times for fans of the New Zealand cricket team. I used the words ‘promising position’ last evening and the Kiwis showed why one can never bank on them converting promising positions to winning ones.
Kane Williamson looked in great touch yesterday and wanted to start off from where he had left it overnight. He perished in the third ball of the day, trying to force a drive without getting to the pitch of the ball. This seems to be his only streaky area.
Ross Taylor and Dean Brownlie looked to survive the demons of the first couple of hours but couldn’t manage doing it. Australia had a major issue in having no bowler to sustain the pressure that Siddle and Pattinson created. Therefore, Siddle was given an extended first spell, and after the first hour when Siddle had to be rested, Pattinson immediately came back for a second spell. Both Taylor and Brownie looked comfortable against Starc. Starc tried bowling around the wickets and it never really threatened the batsmen. Neither could he beat the bat from over the wickets.
Either Siddle or Pattinson were bowling from one of the ends, all through the first session. So, had Williamson and Taylor survived their initial spells, they could have had huge run scoring opportunities coming out of Starc, Lyon and Hussey. But the problem was that both Siddle and Pattinson were too good to get through. At the same time, these Aussie bowlers were fortunate enough to find the edges, unlike Martin, Boult and Southee who, in spite of bowling in good areas, never found the edge when Australia came out to bat.
What could have easily been a lead of 300 plus, was restricted to 240. And, only Boult and Southee helped it 240. Otherwise, run scoring was so difficult all through the first session that when keeper Young was leg before to Siddle, the lead was just 204. Bracewell was at the crease, with Southee, Boult and Martin left. From an overnight score of 139 for 3, the visitors were bundled out for 226, in little over two and a half hours. Credit to Micheal Clarke for persisting with Siddle and Pattinson all morning. And credit to both the bowlers for utilizing the conditions to the fullest.
Phil Hughes has lived to fight tomorrow. There was a long spell of rain after tea and this could be a blessing for New Zealand. The sun has hardly come out in the first session at Hobart. If there is a concentrated effort to keep bowling in the corridor tomorrow morning, there is no reason why they can’t pick up wickets. I thought some extra effort was lacking today.
Ross Taylor resorted to more defensive fields as edges and mistimed shots went for boundaries. I think giving Taylor the captaincy ahead of McCullum is one of the first mistakes in the John Buchanan era. Vettori’s presence was missed in the fourth innings and he’ll probably be missed tomorrow as well, more for his ideas than for his spin bowling.
169 runs. 10 wickets. Anyone fancy a Kiwi win?