Well that was disappointing. Australia finally decided to grace us with their presence after six years, and they completely outplayed New Zealand in the main two disciplines.
As an aside, the catching from both sides was world class and a credit to that aspect of test cricket in the modern era.
The poll was put out on Twitter on Monday night; where was the bigger gap in performance. The responses were as divided as the Flag Debate.
Using Twitter toy. Has the gap in batting or bowling been bigger in this series? #NZvAUS
— Sports Freak (@Sportsfreakconz) February 22, 2016
Remember the first test was effectively lost in the first hour. While Australia bowled well it was not Trent Bridge, and you should not be half out by 11:30. A lot of those dismissals, in fact all of them, were due to balls being played at that did not need to be. And that was the theme over the two tests.
Latham is an interesting one. He is still young, has a good technique, and a decent record so early on. For 90 minutes of most of his innings shows good discipline. But he is starting to build up a catalogue of pretty ugly dismissals.
Henry Nicholls shows promise, and will one day learn how to leave the ball in test cricket. He is not there yet.
Australia, on the other hand, understood the test batting thing. Much has been written about Voges, and his distorted test batting average. But the real poster boy was Burns. His biggest skill is knowing where his off stump is, he does not have a lot of shots, yet his 170 in Christchurch was a match winner.
The only are where New Zealand may have had an advantage was in lower order batting, but does not win test matches.
Here Australia had three main advantages. They got to bowl in the first morning of both tests, they got reverse swing (within the laws of the game) and they had a spin bowling option.
The first one of those was luck, and much has made about how the pitches flattened out quickly. But that’s test cricket.
The reverse swing was a clear tactic. This art has been around for getting on for 30 years now; it should be something that teams can practice. Neither side got it to swing conventionally in this series. Australia had a Plan B.
As for Nathan Lyon. Those dismissals at deep mid-off at The Basin still hurt. Refer to batting.
After all the hope, this was disappointing. But a side does not get ranked #1 in world cricket randomly.
The planning for the trip to Africa in August must start now. Welcome back Shane Jurgensen, there is work to do.