By the end of the third day, Pat Cummins already set the cat amongst the pigeons in the New Zealand camp. But even with their backs pushed to the walls, Kane Williamson and Co showed great fight in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Tom Blundell notched his maiden Test ton and despite the efforts, Australia won by 247 runs. The Aussies also took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Australia set daunting target for New Zealand
Having stockpiled a lead of 456 runs, Matthew Wade (30*) and Travis Head (28) came out and played their strokes freely. The duo played out 9.2 overs on the day before Tim Paine called them back with Australia declaring at 168/5. Neil Wagner rattled Head’s woodwork and it ended a 58-run stand before the declaration came. It meant that the Black Caps were set a mammoth target of 488.
Tom Blundell and Tom Latham were steady to begin with. But James Pattinson had other ideas. The speedster removed Latham, Williamson and the reliable Ross Taylor in a space of 20 deliveries. At Lunch, the Kiwis were tottering at 38 for three in 13 overs. Henry Nicholls came out with intent, scoring a 52-ball 33. His 54-run stand with Blundell added some momentum into the innings.
Blundell shines amidst Aussie domination
Nathan Lyon got Nicholls stumped to separate the duo. Meanwhile, Blundell got to a gutsy half-century off 106 balls. BJ Watling held his ground until the end of the second session. Lyon picked up Watling and sent half the New Zealand batting back to the hut. The tweaker piled more misery for the Kiwis, getting Colin de Grandhomme. At the other end, Blundell kept losing out on partners.
Mitchell Santner showed some resilience, putting on 40 with Blundell for the seventh wicket. Meanwhile, Blundell became the first Kiwi batter with a Test ton at the MCG and he got the milestone in 185 balls. Lyon got rid of Santner for 27 after which Southee perished to a run-out. Blundell tried his heart out, scoring 121 off 210. But his dismissal brought the curtains down on the game.
Here is how Twitter reacted to Blundell’s knock and Australia’s victory: –
Chasing a winning total in Test cricket only becomes tough when reality kicks in that the team batting should actually win. Under a 100 to win is when the game changes COMPLETELY!
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) December 29, 2019
Well done to @CricketAus team on another dominate performance!! Bring on the Sydney Test match now!!!
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) December 29, 2019
— Danny Morrison (@SteelyDan66) December 29, 2019
Tom Blundell 👏👏👏👏
— Scott Styris (@scottbstyris) December 29, 2019
Superb test century Tom Blundell, very fine innings. 💯 #AUSvNZ
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) December 29, 2019
Tom! 🏏 🎉
— Jimmy Neesham (@JimmyNeesh) December 29, 2019
When you consider the state Tim Paine took over the Australian team in, it's quite remarkable they're undefeated in three series and he now has a 50% win record as skipper #AUSvNZ
— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) December 29, 2019
Man of the match in Boxing Day Tests at MCG this decade:
2019 – Travis Head
2018 – Jasprit Bumrah
2017 – Alastair Cook
2016 – Steve Smith
2015 – Nathan Lyon
2014 – Ryan Harris
2013 – Mitchell Johnson
2012 – Mitchell Johnson
2011 – James Pattinson
2010 – Jonathan Trott#AusvNZ
— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) December 29, 2019
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 29, 2019
Pat Cummins Ends With 99 Wkts Across Formats In 2019 ❤👏🔥
Most Wickets Across Formats In 2019 :
— Mani 🇵🇰 (@ManiTweets14) December 29, 2019
Most Test wickets in 2019 – Pat Cummins
Most Test runs in 2019 – Marnus Labuschagne
Most Test wins in 2019 – Australia
— bet365_aus (@bet365_aus) December 29, 2019
Test record in 2019
1104 – Marnus
965 – Smith
335* – Warner
59 – Cummins
45 – Lyon
Most dis by keeper
58 – Paine
Most Test wins
8 – AUS
*Australia also undefeated in T20Is in 2019. 16 ODI wins in 23. mighty Aussies dominating cricket. 🔥
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) December 29, 2019
New Zealand is a good team but can't get the better of Australia in Tests, either home or away.
— CricBlog (@cric_blog) December 29, 2019
— Mathivanan (@tw_mathi) December 29, 2019
Despite the result it would be a travesty if Melbourne did not host New Zealand for a Boxing Day Test for another 32 years. #AusvNZ
— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) December 29, 2019
Highest win/loss ratio in Tests at home
1.56 Sri Lanka #AusvNZ
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) December 29, 2019
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