Well, there it is, just about the perfect summer finished with the 3rd test being wrapped up inside 4 days. After 5 summer tests, the Aussies are sitting 5-0, with comprehensive wins in all games. As the pitch broke up, it was tailor-made for Nathan Lyon to dominate and he certainly delivered in spades. The test was largely similar to the whole series, Australia were able to get the upper hand early, the Kiwis would show some fight and then fold quickly, then rinse and repeat.
After Australia won the toss, and the Kiwis without 2 of their front-line bowlers and a placid SCG wicket, the Aussies got on top early and never let their foot off the Kiwis throat. Again, the first innings was dominated by that man Marnus Labuschagne, who capped off his dream summer with a double century (215) in the first innings, and allowed the Aussies to make another big first innings score. It’s something that they have been able to do all summer, putting the pressure immediately on their opponent and allowing the Aussie fast bowlers to dictate terms with aggressive fields and bowling aggressive lines.
With the Kiwis losing Williamson from the top order they were always going to struggle, and despite posting their biggest score for the summer, 251, they were again well behind the game. From there, with the wicket deteriorating more and more, the Kiwis hopes of salvaging anything from the game disappeared when Warner notched up his 3rd century for the summer and pushing the lead to 415.
It was hoped the Kiwis could at least take the game into a 5th day, but as
they have done continually on this tour they folded cheaply, putting up little resistance as the Aussies steam-rolled through them again.
So, let’s have a look at the prince’s and the paupers of the 3rd test:
1: Marnus Labuschagne – 274 runs for the game, including 215 in the first innings to cap a brilliant summer. He’s taken on the responsibility of batting at 3, and due to Joe Burn’s failures, he was often at the wicket early in the piece. Has a hunger for runs, a good technique and continues to improve his game.
2: Nathan Lyon – 10 wickets for the match, bowling the Aussies to a crushing victory, and looks back in great form. Has had a good summer considering the aussie quicks took the majority of the wickets but took the cream on the wicket that suited him best.
3: David Warner – After dominating Pakistan, he’s been unable to convert good starts into big score until now. An unbeaten hundred in the final game, rounds out a great return for Warner both in front of Aussie crowds and at the top of the order. Gave his helmet and gloves to a kid in the crowd at the end of the game too, which was a bloody nice thing to do.
4: Neil Wagner – 3 wickets in the first innings gave him 17 for the series at 22.76. He was one of the few Kiwis that never stopped trying all series and only enhanced his reputation, unlike the majority of his team-mates.
5: Shane Warne – Auctioning off his baggy green to raise funds for the bushfires. Great work Warnie!
1: BJ Watling – scores of 9 & 19 when they really needed him to fight and perform, especially with no Williamson in the line-up. He’s had a poor series overall with the bat and again here.
2: Matt Henry – Brought in for this test, took two wickets for the game, broke his finger and when he had to bat in the first innings got peppered with short stuff. Really, a shitty game overall.
3: Matthew Wade – Came out to bat at the end of the first day with real intent, hooking Wagner for 4 & 6 in the space of a few balls to get to 22. When day 2 started, he had a flat wicket, a tiring kiwi attack and temps of 30+ to look forward too. Bowled in the first over of the 2nd day trying to sweep the off-spinner, throwing away a chance to really cash in. After a quietish summer, he needed a big score to keep the wolves at bay.
4: Joe Burns – scores of 18 and 40 have done little to cement his spot in the side after a quiet summer. Started summer so well, with 97 in the 1st innings but since then he’s had a lean trot. Whilst a 40in the 2nd innings was sound, it’s not the big score he would have wanted. Should tour Bangladesh later this year, but would need runs to ensure to opens next Aussie summer.
5: Ross Taylor – became New Zealand’s leading test run-scorer this test, but two scores of 22 ended a lean series for him. The Kiwis needed him and Williamson to have strong series to challenge, and both failed poorly.