Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day November 30, 2004

A no-contest



Glenn McGrath was the leader of a pack that was precise and ruthless © Getty Images

Two-Test series are criticised in a land that considers four matches an abbreviation, but there was significant relief when Chris Martin finally fell and ended an unfair contest. A wrestle marked down for 13 days dragged out November as New Zealand were squeezed and crushed by an outfit focussed on precision.

Free entry was granted for the final five wickets to conclude a series that the Australian's front page shouted wasn't worth the admission price. Highlights have been hidden by a mechanical performance of a world champion side that toyed with their opponents before disposal. Justin Langer's double-century stands alone as the pinnacle of this match as Australia relied on contributions of fifties and a couple of wickets.

The last wrenching stretch came when New Zealand's misery was extended by the lunch break, and they ate with nine wickets down. Expecting a quick ending, 3,760 spectators arrived for the opening session and many raced for the exit at 12.58 after Daniel Vettori drove Darren Lehmann to Jason Gillespie. Those who stayed either held long-standing Shaky Island grudges or wanted to see Lehmann's crawl with Mark Richardson. Play resumed and was over after six balls.

Light rain fell on the way to the ground and Vettori sprinkled resistance with a half-century, but any hanging hope of holding on for a draw disappeared when Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum, the two overnight batsmen, quickly departed. New Zealand were more than outclassed by Ricky Ponting's men, who teased and humiliated them.

By batting past lunch yesterday, Ponting almost turned torturer and hoped his opponents would remember the treatment next year in New Zealand. Hypnosis would struggle to make anyone forget the four-day thrashing in Brisbane, ending in a second-innings 76, and this drawn out death.



Justin Langer's double-hundred stood like the pinncle of the Adelaide Test © Getty Images

Oram and Vettori enhanced their reputations but the rest have been unable to display the traditional stubborn traits of touring New Zealand teams. Stephen Fleming, Mathew Sinclair, Oram and Vettori were the only batsmen to make half-centuries while the bowling literally revolved around Vettori's fingers. The fast men got no wickets in Adelaide.

In the other dressing-room Glenn McGrath was named Man of the Series and introduced as "Australia's newest allrounder". Someone had to win it because, as Ponting said, many players put their hands up at different times. Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist, McGrath and Jason Gillespie battered New Zealand at Brisbane and five half-centuries joined Langer's double in Adelaide's first innings.

Five bowlers got two wickets in the second-innings as they again divided the wickets. What made Australia's performance so unusual and business like was that no bowler captured a large haul. "They had three Richard Hadlees and the greatest legspinner of all," Stephen Fleming said. It was shared excellence.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Wisden Cricinfo.