Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart

Hosts confident as lively pitch beckons

The Preview by Daniel Brettig

December 8, 2011

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Match facts



Chris Martin snares Phillip Hughes, Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 2nd day, December 2, 2011
Phillip Hughes will be facing up to Chris Martin once again © AFP
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December 9-13, Hobart
Start time 1030 local (2330 GMT)

Big Picture


Australia's victory in Brisbane maintained the momentum built in Sri Lanka then carried - with the exception of a ridiculous couple of hours in Cape Town - in to South Africa. It also confirmed the many and varied deficiencies in New Zealand's Test team, magnified as they were by the Gabba's bounce and movement. The second Test in Hobart affords the visitors a climate and playing surface more familiar to their batsmen, but also a venue at which Australia have excelled - not once have they lost a Test in Tasmania since the first was played in 1989.

Michael Clarke's team barged through New Zealand in less than three full days' playing time at the Gabba, but did so with a fair spread of faults the team is aware of. Australia's catching was flawed, particularly in the first innings, and the return of the fielding coach Steve Rixon to lead drills in Hobart was welcome. Several batsmen, too, will want to improve. Clarke and Ricky Ponting made substantial scores but offered a few chances and half-chances a long the way, while Michael Hussey has not made a Test score of note in five innings since he was the undisputed Man of the Series Sri Lanka. Then of course there are Phillip Hughes' continuing misadventures outside the off stump. Among the bowlers, James Pattinson has plenty to live up to following his barnstorming display in Brisbane, while Mitchell Starc will be seeking the consistency of length and line that would make his swinging, bouncing left-arm deliveries exceedingly dangerous.

New Zealand's struggles in Brisbane felt unbecoming for a team coached by a man as thorough and shrewd as John Wright, and more in line with the flighty batting of their captain Ross Taylor. The tourists' lack of Test cricket in 2011 played a large part in the manner of the defeat, as a sound first two days gave way to an abject conclusion in the face of an Australian team that did not relent. Dean Brownlie, at least, showed a neat technique and an example to the rest of the batsmen, while Doug Bracewell's whole-hearted bowling would have been far more successful without a consistently risky flirtation with the front crease line. Brendon McCullum's aggression at the top of the order was inadequately substantial, and as a whole the batsmen left far too much for Brownlie and Daniel Vettori to do. Greater application will be needed in Hobart, including the awareness of off stump that Wright has spoken of. Chris Martin was as sturdy as ever with the ball, and will again be seeking to clip Hughes off the top of the Australian batting order.

Form guide

(most recent first)

Australia: WWLDD
New Zealand: LWDLL

In the spotlight


No-one can question Phillip Hughes' appetite for runs, but he is so often out fencing at deliveries going across him before there is time to complete the entrée. On a Hobart surface that was still verdant green on match eve, it is guaranteed that Martin's right-arm seam and swing will again pose the questions that Hughes was unable to answer in Brisbane. In the words of the coach Mickey Arthur, Hughes' difficulties are of a nature that "will not go away", and after this series Ishant Sharma will be as keen as Martin to exploit them. So Hughes must show evidence of improvement sooner rather than later, or no amount of impassioned support from his captain Clarke will save him.

Ross Taylor reasoned there would be changes to his team if there is not strong improvement on an ailing performance in Brisbane. Based on the pair of shots he played to be out to Pattinson in both innings, Taylor should not be immune from scrutiny himself. A tremendous shot-making talent, his looseness was not the example to set for a young team, particularly behind a No. 3 in Kane Williamson who looked out of his depth on a surface offering bounce. In the field Taylor made some decent bowling changes but dropped a catch. The improvement of the team's Test match fortunes is going to have to start with the captain.

Pitch and conditions


Hobart surfaces tend to alternate between very flat and very lively, and the sight of a strip of similar colour and grass coverage to the outfield suggests the second Test pitch will fall into the latter category. The pace and bounce will not be on quite the same level as Brisbane's, while a colder climate may prevent a repeat of the sharp swing gained by Pattinson on day four at the Gabba.

Team news


Australia named an unchanged side on match eve, removing all doubt about the potential of the 12th man Daniel Christian to be brought in for Hughes.

Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Phillip Hughes, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 James Pattinson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Nathan Lyon.

New Zealand appear likely to give another chance to the XI that struggled for traction in Brisbane, reasoning that the players entered the first Test in good enough touch and must better organise their mental approach to Test cricket and Australia.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Jesse Ryder, 6 Dean Brownlie, 7 Daniel Vettori, 8 Reece Young (wk), 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Chris Martin.

Stats & trivia


  • Australia's unchanged team is their first since taking the same XI that won the third Ashes Test in Perth last summer into the fourth Test in Melbourne. An innings defeat and the loss of the urn eventuated.

  • Ricky Ponting returns to the scene of his previous Test century, 209 against Pakistan in January 2010. He is without a hundred in 29 innings since.

  • Chris Martin's second-innings duck gave him the most in Tests between Australia and New Zealand, eight to surpass Danny Morrison's seven.

  • Though Australia have never lost a Test in Hobart, New Zealand have managed to scrape draws from two of the three Tests they have played at the ground - the other an innings defeat in 1993.

Quotes


"If the wicket doesn't change much from what I see, and it's still a little bit tacky and there's [overcast] overhead conditions I'll bowl first, but I've said that a few times and then got out there and batted. The two things I find hard: bowling first when I win the toss, and not picking a spinner."
Michael Clarke assesses the Hobart surface and conditions

"We have a good fielding outfit and we were disappointed to let our standards slip. The guys set very high standards in the field. When things aren't going so well it's something we rely on to get us going. We've put in some hard work since Brisbane."
Swing bowler Tim Southee on New Zealand's faulty fielding

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (December 11, 2011, 22:35 GMT)

@ Full-Blooded-Wallop - your prediction is looking fairly sad right now! LOL!

Posted by   on (December 9, 2011, 3:26 GMT)

As a kiwi supporter i have to say our team is a joke. Can anyone say 'relegated to associate status'?

Posted by dms1972 on (December 8, 2011, 23:20 GMT)

@Harmony111 (I'm hoping Harmony111 reads the article) How many Test matches has Tendulkar played more than Ponting? If you're going to tell me that even on my criteria, Tendulkar has scored 1500 more runs than Ponting, you might as well tell me that Tendulkar has scored nearly 10,000 more runs than Bradman. I respect and admire Tendulkar as one of the all time greats, I just get sick and tired of the likes of you, telling me that Ponting is not one of the greats, when quite clearly he is. You cannot tell me that Ponting had greats all around him and then ignore the fact that Tendulkar has had players like Sehwag, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble, Harbhajan, and Laxman playing with him.

Posted by nobbin on (December 8, 2011, 23:03 GMT)

still now only aussieee can win around the globe

Posted by Patchmaster on (December 8, 2011, 23:02 GMT)

Can we (NZ) have Hughes in our team if he gets dropped by the AUS team ? We can rush a visa through, no probs, then McCullum can go back behind the sticks. Sorted !

Posted by Marcio on (December 8, 2011, 22:50 GMT)

One has to wonder what the mental age of some posters is, @AsikaPrasad. It must really hurt to see Australia bounce back so quickly, including the 0/170 in the following innings and winning the test with a record 310 runs in the fourth innings.

Posted by Meety on (December 8, 2011, 22:47 GMT)

@jonesy2 - I suppose when Hughes is batting - given there should be an extra man or two in the cordon, there should be gaps elsewhere for more orthodox shots? I say middle it thru the covers son!!!!

Posted by playitstraight on (December 8, 2011, 22:41 GMT)

I have a feeling that NZ are going to be thrashed again if their batsmen do not perform their job. Apart from the world-class allrounder Dan Vettori, NZ have no stable batsman to rely upon. Taylor needs to show the way first, he shouldn't become NZ's Dilshan because then it will be really bad.

Posted by   on (December 8, 2011, 21:47 GMT)

Yeah punter will hit a century and pigs will fly

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (December 8, 2011, 21:47 GMT)

Aussies to lose by 150 runs or 6 wickets.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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