Australia in New Zealand 2004-05 March 14, 2005

Big Merv and Funky straighten Dizzy's spin

Cricinfo staff

Jason Gillespie roared back to life after some advice from the stands © Getty Images

A piece of technical advice from two of Australia's most zany Test bowlers revived Jason Gillespie's first Test and helped repel the threat of Brett Lee. Gillespie struggled with 0 for 87 in the first innings at Christchurch, when Lee was a surprise choice as 12th man, before sealing three important lbw decisions in the second after Merv Hughes and Colin 'Funky' Miller spotted a flaw in his action.

Hughes and Miller, who now take supporters' tours instead of Test wickets, popped into the dressing room to find Gillespie and the tip worked. "There was a bit of a difference between the first and second innings because big Merv and Funky came into the rooms and said, 'Dizzy we reckon you're running in on too much of an angle, straighten up your run-up,'" he said.

Gillespie said he would give it a try because he couldn't bowl any worse. "So I straightened up and it went really well," he said. "So I've got big Merv and Funky, the pink-haired goon, to thank." Gillespie captured the wickets of Craig Cumming and Nathan Astle in his first spell yesterday before returning to trap Brendon McCullum.

The haul took his Test record to 244 and he could pass Graham McKenzie, who collected 246, and Richie Benaud (248) in the second match at Wellington beginning on Friday. Only Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee, Craig McDermott and Glenn McGrath have taken more than 250 wickets for Australia.