by Gareth Allison
A disappointing New Zealand crashed to a nine-wicket loss on the fourth day at The Gabba in Brisbane to hand Australia a 1-0 lead in the series.
After a fairly even first two days of Test match cricket, the Black Caps helped engineer their own demise by dropping too many catches in letting their opponents reach 427 before gifting debutant James Pattinson three wickets in his first over of the day. Limping along at 28/5, NZ were only just able to make the hosts bat again, setting them nineteen runs to win.
Australia lost Phillip Hughes to a worryingly familiar catch in the gully, but David Warner ended the match in style by pulling Doug Bracewell for a boundary. The result also extended NZ’s long losing streak in Tests against Australia; the Black Caps last won a Test against their neighbours in 1993.
Captain Ross Taylor, who put in a dismal performance himself including a first-ball duck in the second innings, was candid in the post-match press conference. Giving credit to the man-of-the-match Pattinson (who took a five-wicket haul in this, his maiden Test), he made no bones about the fact that too many of his side’s recognized batsmen fell to soft dismissals, giving away their wickets far too easily.
"You can’t keep putting in performances like that. We need to look at ourselves," Taylor said. "There’s a big summer ahead back home; Zimbabwe then three Tests against South Africa. If we put in another performance like that then there will be changes.”
There were some slight positives for the Kiwis though: former captain Daniel Vettori shored up the first innings with a gutsy 96 and a brace of wickets from his typically frugal bowling. Chris Martin impressed with his pace and swing, whilst Dean Brownlie showed maturity and ability in scoring 77* and 42 with the bat in just his second Test.
With the Black Caps now unable to win a series that they had high hopes for, all eyes now turn to the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. The teams have only four days in which to regroup and refocus, and Taylor will want a performance with the bat resembling their impressive outing against Australia A last week. They are still good enough to take a match off Australia, but their self-belief may now have taken a fatal knock after a performance like this.
Photo credit: AFP / William West
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