Australia vs New Zealand 2nd Test analysis & stats
The rivalry between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis never ceases to amaze the Cricket fans around the globe as it is packed with extraordinary performances and nail-biting finishes. New Zealand is touring Australia in a three-match Test series where the Australians registered a convincing win in the first Test. Let us take a look at what transpired in the second Test match played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Nathan Lyon and James Pattinson were the stars of the fourth innings as they helped Australia bowl out New Zealand for 240 runs to gain a massive 247-run win in the second Test between the two nations at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Despite opener Tom Blundell’s tremendous grit that saw him make his second Test ton to take the game into the final session on Day 4, Pattinson and Lyon were on the mark, scalping seven wickets between them, to seal the series 2-0 with a game to go.
After being set a huge total of 488 for a win, the Kiwis were reduced to 3 for 35 as Pattinson picked up three wickets in nine deliveries to swing the match in favour of the hosts. With Kane Williamson - their best batter by far - out for a duck, the game was all but sealed for the Kangaroos, but a sparkling ton from Blundell, who had never opened in FC cricket before the innings, gave the side some respite. The player could have been LBW in the very first over that he faced but calmed his nerves thereafter as he became the first-ever New Zealander to score a hundred at the MCG.
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When the Australians bowled straight at him, he worked them towards the leg side, and nonchalantly took them on when they dropped their lengths. Blundell scored his hundred in 185 balls after nudging a Pat Cummins delivery towards mid-on even as the rapturous crowd stood up on their feet to applaud a memorable inning.
Earlier, Pattinson who replaced injured Josh Hazlewood for the game got his first wicket of the second innings with his fourth ball when he drew Tom Latham to drive a wide delivery. With it, he was able to break the opening stand that had shown signs of flourishing. The biggest wicket, however, was that of Williamson’s, who had fallen for 9 after playing a poor shot in the first innings. In the second essay, the Kiwi skipper was given LBW when a delivery nipped back in. Williamson called for a DRS, but was given out after replays showed that the ball had clipped his leg stump by the barest of bare margins.
Next to go was Ross Taylor who dragged an under edge onto the stumps as he attempted to cut Pattinson, as Australia sensed a series-levelling win.
Australia though could have had their first wicket in the opening over itself when Mitchell Starc swung one back into Blundell and looked like it was hitting the leg stump. However, Tim Paine did not go up for a DRS, and Blundell stayed put at his crease. It was a Blundell-show thereafter as he made a punchy start, hitting a pull shot over wide mid-on off Cummins. He continued to build his innings in the second session as well along with Henry Nicholls, as the two shared a partnership that lasted for more than an hour. The duo saw off Starc and Cummins with ease even though the speed rockets touched the 140kmph mark. Starc sent down a delivery at 152kmph while Cummins bowled one at 147kmph in the afternoon session, without any success. It was then left to Lyon to dismantle the middle and the lower order.
Nicholls saw himself stumped as he dragged his foot out of the crease off the bowling of Lyon to open the gates for the rest of the batters to follow. Blundell, however, was a calm and sedate figure, reaching his fifty in 106 balls. He took on Pattinson and Cummins before tea, with BJ Watling at the other end contributing with some crucial runs as well. However, the stand of 72 between the two was broken in rare fashion as he got an inside edge off the bowling of Lyon after the ball flew through the gate only to see David Warner latching on to the catch at leg slip. Colin de Grandhomme was sent back to the pavilion soon after, and there was a huge chance that Blundell could have been left stranded without getting to the three-figure mark.
However, Mitchell Santner stayed put at the crease and even threatened to take the match to the fifth day before Lyon found his edge. Tim Southee was involved in a terrible mix-up with Blundell, who managed to reach his hundred in fine fashion. However, his innings was a case of too little too late as the Kiwis were humbled for the second time in a row against a rampant Aussie side. Who do you think will win the final Test match? Predict the winner now, log on to 10CRIC and claim a bonus of INR 10,000.Published 31 Dec 2019, 10:08 IST