After just under four years New Zealand has lost a cricket test at home. And convincingly too. It had been an impressive run that spanned 13 test matches. It contained some of the most memorable tests played in New Zealand, with a few records thrown in. But today it came to an end.
There several pieces on the floor to pick up between now and Saturday.
The path for the test was set in the first hour. You make it hard for yourself when you are 51/5 at that point. Yes, the toss was significant and yes, the Voges no-ball call was blindingly incompetent, but it would be wrong to lay everything at the feet of that pair of misfortune.
As poor as the batting was in the first hour was, there is an argument that the second innings was even more disappointing. This was at a time in the match when the Basin pitch is meant to be at its best for batting, and they made 327. The only caveat to that is that today Australia got it swing, both conventionally and reverse, and it started to turn like a fifth day pitch.
This was a very organised Australian side. Warner aside, they batted with discipline, and they bowled to plans. Someone had done their homework too; especially when it came to Kane Williamson. Watch out for the two overs on leg stump, followed by reverting to a fifth stump line in Christchurch. Williamson himself will be watching for it too. He hasn’t really got going in this series, but it won’t carry on like that for ever.
The New Zealand bowling effort was not bad as such, but lacked the ability to apply pressure over extended periods of time. As an attack it seemed a bowler or two short.
He may only have been around for about half an hour, but Mitch Santner’s presence is now just so important to the make-up of the side. It would have been very handy to have had an extra front-line quick bowler here to share the load as much as anything.
History suggests that New Zealand will be more competitive next week, and the fact they will not be playing it on the back of no long form cricket since before Christmas will help that.
And the openers will probably respect Nathan Lyon a bit more too.