Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart, 4th day December 12, 2011

Taylor 'stoked' with Bracewell burst

That Doug Bracewell was not Man of the Match in Hobart was a travesty. He finished with match figures of 9 for 60. He was responsible for altering the course of the Test when Australia seemed set for victory. In short, he was the reason New Zealand won a Test in Australia for the first time since his uncle John played for the national side in 1985.

In their wisdom, Channel Nine asked viewers to vote for the Man of the Match. On a day when David Warner's maiden Test hundred nearly won Australia the game, it was no wonder that Australian fans elected Warner. His innings was brilliant, but he was not the best player in the game. Even Bracewell's captain, Ross Taylor, was surprised by how dramatically the fast man lifted New Zealand.

"I thought Dougie would bowl well," Taylor said. "I didn't think he would bowl that well."

Taylor was referring to his decision to hand the ball to Bracewell with less than 30 minutes to go for lunch. Operating from the southern end, Bracewell removed Ricky Ponting with the fourth ball of his spell and in his next over, nipped the ball away magnificently from Michael Clarke to entice an edge to slip. His very next ball swung in to Michael Hussey, who was lbw on review.

"I thought the way [Peter] Siddle and [James] Pattinson bowled from that end, Doug is probably 5kph slower than them but he's a similar bowler, can hit the deck and swing it away," Taylor said. "As captain you've got to go on hunches.

"I'm just stoked for Dougie. He didn't bowl as well as he would have liked in Brisbane. It didn't help that his captain dropped a catch as well. He bowled outstandingly well for a young guy, only 21, to come in in his third Test match and get Ponting, Clarke and Hussey - that's something you tell your grandkids."

Based on Bracewell's family history, his grandkids might well play for the Black Caps too. It is a huge tick in the box of New Zealand's two selectors, Kim Littlejohn and the coach John Wright, that they trusted Bracewell to be ready for Test cricket. Prior to his debut in Zimbabwe, he had 42 first-class wickets at an average of 42.45. But they saw something in him.

Three Tests into his career, Bracewell has 16 wickets at 19.25. When he mastered the curve in the air and seam off the pitch, Australia had no way to handle him. Another double-wicket over came when he had James Pattinson caught at slip and bowled Mitchell Starc, who couldn't get bat on a ball that jagged in from the off stump, leaving Australia nine wickets down.

Fittingly, Bracewell finished the job in his seventh consecutive over after lunch - his tenth of the spell if the pre-lunch overs are taken into consideration. He nipped another ball in from outside off to bowl Australia's No. 11, Nathan Lyon, and was mobbed by his team-mates. He was the star, but he had plenty of assistance.

Trent Boult was excellent on debut, while Chris Martin led the way in the first innings. And Tim Southee, perhaps the weaker link during the first three innings of the series, picked up two wickets in an over on Monday to take New Zealand from a good position to a brilliant one.

Southee swung the ball away from Brad Haddin to have him caught at slip one ball after being dropped in the cordon, and also drew an edge to slip from Peter Siddle. Taylor said bowling Australia out for 136 and 233 rated as one of the most complete bowling performances he had been part of in the New Zealand side.

"I thought we bowled better in the first innings to be honest," Taylor said. "As a complete performance, yes, I thought we caught well, we didn't drop any. We get a lot of flak for dropping catches but we took all our catches. I'm just stoked.

"We knew we needed wickets before lunch. I didn't bat very well but I never felt in, so I knew that it wasn't going to be easy to bat on that wicket. It was still nipping around on day four so we thought wickets, as they did in our innings, would fall in clumps, so we couldn't be too flat. We had to be as upbeat as possible and that's how we looked at it."

And of course, they needed someone to bowl well. That well.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments