Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart December 13, 2011

It was just massive relief - Guptill


A couple of hours after Doug Bracewell bowled Nathan Lyon to complete New Zealand's first Test victory in Australia since 1985, the New Zealand players wandered out of the Bellerive Oval dressing rooms and made their way to the pitch. The captain Ross Taylor was carrying an esky, or to use the New Zealand term, a chilly-bin, full of drinks.

Several black caps were askew on heads. Some men were still in their whites, others had changed into the black training gear. A few were barefoot; Jesse Ryder settled for socks without shoes. They huddled together and let out a chant that was as boisterous as it was unintelligible. Drinks were sprayed, photos were taken, and they all took a few moments to let their historic achievement sink in.

"It was a big night," the batsman Martin Guptill told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday. "It's 26 years since we've beaten Australia over here so we have cause to celebrate. It's definitely the highlight of my career so far. It'll be in the memory banks for a long time."

By Tuesday afternoon, when the Test would have still been going had it lasted five days, the players based on the South Island had already flown out of Hobart. The Northern Island men were remaining for an extra night. They were still getting their heads around what they had accomplished.

One of the men who stayed on was Daniel Vettori, who was a late withdrawal from the match due to a hamstring injury. When the final wicket fell, Vettori was standing in the doorway of the change rooms clapping and cheering, but he didn't run out on the field for fear of exacerbating his injury.

"He hasn't won a Test against Australia," Guptill said of Vettori. "It was mixed emotions for him that he wasn't playing, but for him to be there when we took that final wicket was fantastic. He was ecstatic and enjoyed the celebrations as well."

It almost wasn't so. Australia's No.11, Lyon, joined David Warner at the crease with 42 runs required for a home victory. A couple of lbw reviews went against New Zealand and the target edged closer and closer. When it reached single figures, there were plenty of nerves among the New Zealand players.

"That was one of the most intense feelings you could ever have," Guptill said. "When Dougie bowled Nathan Lyon for that last wicket it was just massive relief. You saw the way we were jumping around in the middle that we really wanted it and we worked hard to get it. I think we deserved it.

"It was a little bit [nerve-wracking] but we backed our bowlers to take the wickets. Dougie and Timmy [Southee] bowled fantastic spells and really put pressure on. We were lucky enough to keep Dave Warner off strike for long enough periods to take that last wicket.

"Dougie bowled unbelievably well. For a young lad to do that in his third Test, and against Australia, is pretty remarkable. Everyone is very proud of him and he'll certainly have a long career for New Zealand ahead of him."

Bracewell finished the match with 9 for 60, the best Test figures by a New Zealand player in five years, but he needed help from the fielders. After New Zealand put down four catches in the Gabba Test, it was clear that batting and fielding were the two areas they needed to improve in to challenge Australia in Hobart.

They didn't put down any genuine chances at Bellerive Oval. Guptill snared four catches in the match, including Phillip Hughes at second slip in both innings, taking to four from four the amount of dismissals that read Hughes, caught Guptill bowled Martin in the series.

"He loves bowling to left-handers and gets that swing away," Guptill said of Martin. "You know you're always in the game in the slips with him bowling to left-handers. Myself, Ross, Jesse and Reece [Young] behind the wicket were always in the game when Hughes was on strike."

The win, New Zealand's first in Australia in 26 years and first against Australia since 1993, cannot help but fill Taylor's side with confidence. The players return home to Twenty20 cricket, with the HRV Cup scheduled over the next few weeks, but when they face Zimbabwe and South Africa in Tests later in the summer, they will draw on their Hobart success as inspiration.

"The guys showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart yesterday," Guptill said. "If we can take that into each Test match that we play then we're going to get better as a side and we're going to get the results that we want."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2011, 16:40 GMT

    Good Goin Kiwis.......feel sorry for Vettori to miss out on such a huge occasion :(

  • praveen on December 14, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    It is an incredible victory for the Kiwis !! Bracewell really did a fantastic job...he deserved the MoM award more than Micheal Clarke....

  • Travis on December 14, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    I'm an Aussie fan, but I do feel a bit for Vettori. Such a great servant of the game missing out on being a part of that landmark win for his team doesn't seem quite right.

  • Srinivas on December 14, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    Well done Kiwis. But none of you seem to remember or spare a thought for one certain Daniel Vettori while celebrating.

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    i feel the contribution of john wright played a major role for the composure of the team

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    @Aaron; Remember than Kane Williamson was the star after his debut centruy in India.

    I think questions do need to be asked about the top six. Mainly why Williamson is getting shifted around so much, when stability would be good for him and a certain captain hogging the number four spot. I'd like to see Taylor 3, Ryder 4, Williamson 5, Brownlie 6.

  • Peter on December 13, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    Totally agree Gerrystackle. Southee was bowling quick and looping it big time. Wonder what game AlexK400 was watching? It was ridiculous the way the MoM was selected. Viewers votes from the home country on one phone network? This is bordering on comical. It was a good result for cricket overall, the Kiwis stepped up on a wicket that was a great test match wicket, their bowling was a plus. They would have troubled any batting team such was the way they performed. If we had won, it would have perhaps thrown up the "mental strength" aspect and given our guys a false comfort factor. The fact is, the senior players are the ones not performing. The younger players, from both sides were the stars of this series.

  • Ed on December 13, 2011, 22:13 GMT

    Tim Southee was massively disapointing, his dismissal in the second innings personified his 'couldn't care less' attitude. He has a lot of talent with the bat, but just doesn't have the mental strength to apply himself. Where is the NZ batting coach ? Southee should be made to bat in the nets every day for a year, until he shows he can be mentally stronger than a stroppy teenager.

  • David on December 13, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    Well done NZ. Pity Vettori could not have been in the team.

  • Greg on December 13, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    @AlexK400 - wrong. Southee wasn't bowling weak floaters on off stump. Bowling Outswingers at 143kms isn't what i call a weak floater. I was pleased with his bowling actually, he stepped up and did what was required of him - bowled an attacking length and swung it consistantly.

    Plus - Doug didn't win it on his own. A very good feilding performance by the kiwis maintained pressure on the batters and they held their catches.

    A very good day of test cricket that has belittled by many Aussies cringing over their own performance. Please give credit where it is due - the better bowling team won this match.

  • No featured comments at the moment.