Australia completed a huge 296-run victory over New Zealand in the pink ball Test match at the Optus Perth Stadium. In a Test that saw Marnus Labuschagne score his third consecutive century and Ross Taylor making 80 for the visitors, it was the bowlers who took the accolades for some spirited bowling in extreme temperatures which touched 40 Degrees Celsius.
Mitchell Starc picked 9 wickets in the match with a fifer coming in the first innings and four in the second, while Tim Southee picked a fifer in Australia’s second innings. But it was the usage of short-pitch bowling from both sides that came into focus, which is how the majority of wickets fell and batsmen displayed some valour taking blows on the body.
Tim Paine praises Neil Wagner
Starc and the Kiwi fast bowler Neil Wagner tormented the batsmen with some spirited bouncers directed at the body, which hit them, evident from Matthew Wade’s struggle in the middle. He refused to hook or pull and even stopped ducking to short bowling from Wagner and co and basically kept taking hits on the body while sledging the left-arm pacer.
“It was great theatre, wasn’t it? We were just having a laugh before when we were bowling at their tail, we think it’s going to be a bit of bodyline for a lot of the series. There’s been a lot of talk about it, but regardless of the pace of the two teams they are very, very skilled at executing that ball and they set great fields for it.
“So, it’s a completely different challenge from what you get from other teams. They’re very good at it and they’re very clever,” Australia captain Tim Paine was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. He acknowledged the spirit shown by Neil Wagner saying that one has to respect a guy who can run at full speed and bowl 50 overs. Such a guy is everyone who wants them on their team.
“This game was bloody hot, and I think he bowled about 50 overs and 200 bouncers. He’s clearly got a big heart, so hats off to him – I thought he did bloody well,” Paine added. The second Test will be a boxing day affair at the MCG with Trent Boult likely to return.
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