Neil Wagner - Image: Getty
There’s around 20,000 New Zealanders that have made the trip over the Tasman for the Boxing Day Test, but it’s fair to say that pretty much all of them will be Google searching for ‘things to do in Melbourne’ after this morning’s batting effort by the Black Caps.
The visitors slumped to be all out for 148 after a horror first session, with Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins picking up the vital wickets of Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls in successive balls. Taylor, who was the only Black Caps batsman to pass 50 so far in the series, fell victim to a perfect delivery that caught a thick edge and flew to Marnus Labuschange at third slip. The ball bounced up off Labuschange’s hands and popped nicely back for Joe Burns to take an easy catch.
Nicholls then let a brute of a ball thump into his pad next, which looked to be a little bit high so he called for a review. However, the replays showed the ball was hitting off stump so Nicholls was gone for a golden duck and the Black Caps were reeling at 46/4.
While BJ Watling had pedigree to dig in and salvage something from precarious situations, even he didn’t last long in the face of the fired up Australians. This time a short ball from James Pattinson caught his glove and looped a far more straight forward catch to Burns in the slips to leave the Black Caps five down.
But the carnage wasn’t over yet. Mitchell Starc, who had so far missed out on the wickets, sent down a 141 km per hour delivery to Colin de Grandhomme, who watched the ball ricochet off the shoulder of his bat and fly to David Warner at gully.
It should have been seven down by lunch, after Mitchell Santner was inexplicably given not out even though a similar delivery from Starc clearly caught his glove and flew into the slips for another catch.
The innings never got off the ground, despite a fighting 50 from Tom Latham. Unfortunately he needed about 100 more to make the game a contest at least, but even then he needed someone to hold up the other end for him. He was caught behind just after reaching his half century, one of Cummins’ five victims for the day.
Once he was gone it was just a matter of time before the innings came to an end, which it did with the score at a paltry 148. Instead of enforcing the follow on, the Australians chose to head back out and bat, with Warner and Burns getting off to a good start and leaving the home side 28 without loss at tea.
That decision to bat again does mean that the big kiwi crowd that has come over to enjoy the action will get another day in the sun at the MCG tomorrow, so it’s not all bad.
Australia v NZ, second test
Tea, day three:
Australia first innings: 467 all out (Travis Head 114, S Smith 85, N Wagner 4-83)
Second innings: 28/0
NZ first innings: 148 all out (T Latham 50, P Cummins 5-28)