It has finally happened. You can almost feel the selective sigh of relief coming out of NZ cricket.
After this year’s frustrations in Dunedin (twice) and Eden Park, that first test victory under Brendon McCullum has arrived. And just to be sure of it, the win was by an innings and 73 runs, and arrived with over two days to spare. Some random observations
The Forgotten Spell
Trent Boult is getting all the accolades, and that is completely understandable. On the third morning he was simply unplayable as he slashed through the Windies tail with late swing, pace and accuracy. Throughout that day he troubled every single batsman and was genuinely imposing.
However, there was one spell which ensured this test did not go into the weekend. After all the talk during the week of whether enforcing the follow-on is a great idea, there was an ominous feeling in the ground as the tourists reached 74 without loss against a bowling attack which looked a little tired.
Then Southee, who had spent most of the morning battling into the wind was swapped around, and finally get to bowl downwind. Fast bowlers who are used to being the spearhead do not like bowling into a Wellington wind. FACT.
So Southee, who had got a reasonable rest by then, was fired up. He blasted out the openers before roughing up Marlon Samuels before finally putting him out of his misery. Let’s bottle that anger for Hamilton.
RIP the Taylor slog-sweep
362 runs in this series for once dismissed; Ross Taylor is in the form of his life and dominating this series like his mentor Martin Crowe used to. That New Zealand innings was built around Taylor, and the string of partnerships he was involved with, who gave a master class in how to build a test century.
So, having dominated the first two tests in the series you would think that there is no reason why he would not dominate the third.
One statistic of note; 362 runs and not a single six. That’s how you do it.
Corey Anderson is The Real Deal
That may seem a strange thing to say after a match where his contribution was in a supporting role. But throughout the match he showed he had the composure. In the first innings he arrived with the innings in the balance and the spinners had the strangle on. He took 20 minutes to get off the mark, but then started lifting them back over their head, and the pressure was released.
Then with the ball he did a great job in assisting Wagner with the into-the-wind task. His two wickets last in the second day, especially Bravo, turned out to be pivotal.
In other news, Jesse Ryder scored 83 yesterday.
Curators. There’s your India blueprint.
This pitch was not like those meadows dished up in 2002 for Ganguly’s India side. But it was clearly in New Zealand’s favour; offering some, but not too much, movement throughout. Please, New Zealand, remember that in February.
Things Tino Best may want to work on this week
Quirky Stats Corner
Trent Boult not only became the first New Zealander to take 4 wickets in 6 balls, but also became the first New Zealander to take 9 wickets in a day’s play. (Previous record was 8 from Chris Martin in Jan 2012)
On top of that, he became the first Number 11 batsman from any country to hit two or more sixes in four test innings.