Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 2nd day December 2, 2011

Spinners turn it on

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second day of the first Test between Australia and New Zealand at the Gabba

The let-off
New Zealand made a sturdy start on the second morning, forcing Michael Clarke to revert to his spin bowler Nathan Lyon in search of the sixth wicket. Lyon should have claimed the wicket of Daniel Vettori with his second ball. Misjudging his opposite number's length, Vettori top edged an attempted sweep, and sent a chance lobbing in the direction of Mitchell Starc. Running with the flight, Starc seemed to have the chance covered, but allowed himself to be distracted by the peripheral figure of David Warner, strolling in from midwicket. The chance fell between them, and Vettori continued to frustrate the hosts.

The run-out
Vettori has never made a Test century against Australia, and seemed suddenly to become acutely aware of the fact when he paddled Lyon to the boundary to move to 96. Though Dean Brownlie was assured at the other end, Vettori decided that he had to pinch the strike at the end of the over, driving straight to mid-off and running with the shot. Unfortunately for Vettori, the man posted there was not a nervy youngster but the ageless Michael Hussey, who picked up, threw and hit middle stump as the batsman sprawled towards the crease in a despairing dive. Vettori remained prostrate for a moment, considering the folly of what he had done.

The surprise
Vettori took the new ball for the visitors, becoming the first spin bowler to do so at the Gabba since Bill O'Reilly's leg breaks were employed by Australia against England in Brisbane's Bodyline Test of 1932-33. Lyon and Vettori both made welcome history for the undersung art of spin bowling at the venue: Lyon's 4-69 was the best first innings analysis by an Australian finger spinner at the ground since Bert "Dainty" Ironmonger's 4-44 in 1931-32.

The no-ball
Clarke had 23 fluent runs and a burgeoning stand with Ricky Ponting in the final session when Doug Bracewell put one delivery in a sufficiently awkward spot to have the captain cuffing onto the stumps while trying to withdraw his bat. A critical wicket appeared to have put New Zealand back into the contest … until Clarke had walked halfway to the boundary. The umpire Asad Rauf suspected a no-ball, and upon consultation with video replays Bracewell was judged to have overstepped. It was not the first time Clarke was reprieved by a posthumous no-ball call - against India in 2010 he flicked his first ball to midwicket but was saved by Ian Gould's referral to video evidence - but this time he looked intent on making the most of it. In Mohali last year Clarke had not survived the same Ishant Sharma over in which he was reprieved.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on December 5, 2011, 8:05 GMT

    @Matthew Harris - who says he is not good?

  • Steven on December 2, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    @dpk - there was only enough time for 1.5 overs before lunch, so Vettori bowled one to allow them to get two in , otherwise would have just been one over from a fast bowler. PS Taylor is captain, not Vettori

  • david on December 2, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    for the skip to opening the bowling does not give his other opening bowlers much confidence. and u cannot say he was bowling defensively when u want to take wickets. different if he was bowling just to stop the scoring. dpk

  • david on December 2, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    meety if the 2 pace bowlers were going to be superstars on the 1st days play .then lyon will be a superstar today. hes never wrong. dpk

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    I just want to say. i told you so. Starc is the most over rated bowler in the country. you need to look beyong the stats. he only gets wickets when batsman are trying to belt him. he mostly gets tail enders and in the short form of the game. Now siddle bowled alright but still took 24 overs to take 2 wickets. thats a strike rate of over 70, not very good. Lyon did bowl quite well to batsman and the tail. Should have picked copeland and cutting.

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    @Meety thats one of the problems with australian cricket at the moment, you are not seen to be a good spinner unless you "rip a few turners". Anil Kumble took over 600 test wickets an he barley turned it at all. Spinners don't need to get large amount of spin to be good. @gothetaniwha someone has to get them, and australia has struggled in that area recently.

  • Aidan on December 2, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    Well maybe Mitchell Johnson is a bigger loss than we all realise, despite his inconsistency with ball, and lowered batting results in recent seasons - I have little doubt Johnson (the other Mitchell) would have taken that catch Stark didn't - Johnson has taken some excellent running outfield catches in his career - some of the best.

  • Dennis on December 2, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    Lyon did bowl well but 3 of his wickets were 9 , 10 , and 11 hmm

  • Andrew on December 2, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    @jonesy2 - wouldn't quite call Lyon a "star" .... yet. He gets good drift & I believe he has a bit of deception - I think he has a top spinner that looks good. Prefer if he could rip a few turners though!

  • Bryn on December 2, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    ageless michael hussey alright. nathan lyon just gets better and better each game. bowled brilliantly. what a star. oh and the greatest test player in history is back to his best, hardly surprising to those who know anything about anything

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