November 10, 2001

New Zealand bowling failures dominate news opinion

New Zealand's failure to maintain the first day-last session strike power in the first Test at the Gabba was the feature of newspaper coverage of the rain-affected second day's play.

The New Zealand Herald: "Not even Craig McMillan, who masqueraded as the Caped Crusader on the opening day, was able to conjure up anything to stem the run flow as the Australian lower-order not only repaired the innings, but went on to leave their side in a virtually unassailable position.

"[Adam] Gilchrist was a mercurial force, feeding heavily off the smorgasbord of short deliveries sent his way and taking toll of anything full, his 88 coming off 123 balls, including 13 fours and one gorgeous straight drive for six.

"Following his Cinderella appearance at the bowling crease on the opening day, McMillan was back in ugly sister mode yesterday, giving up six boundaries off the blade of Gilchrist as Australia ticked the scoring over at a healthy 3.5 an over.

Sydney Morning Herald: "Six times in his 22 Tests before this one, Gilchrist had dug Australia out of holes of varying depth to help them to success.

"Probably the best effort came in only his second Test, when, with Australia chasing a daunting 368 against Pakistan, he came to the wicket at 5-126 and unleashed a superb 149 not out, teaming with Justin Langer in their 238-run partnership to ensure a four-wicket triumph.

"He has the best average among the Australian top seven, his 54.69 shading Steve Waugh's 51.60. If he was to be dismissed here today without adding a run, his average when batting at fifth drop would be 64.22, making him statistically the most successful batsman in that position in the game so far.

"Gilchrist noted he had a better record when his side was in trouble, saying such situations helped him focus."

The Daily Telegraph: "Gilchrist and [Brett] Lee batted like they were in a hurry, hitting four consecutive boundaries and later two sixes into the northern stand.

"Both sixes were caught by spectators and New Zealand might consider moving its fielders into the plastic seats tomorrow if their bowlers continue to bowl without brains.

"The Kiwis were not helped by a grim outlook for left-arm quick Shayne O'Connor, who may not bowl again in this Test after suffering the potential recurrence of a knee injury."

The Herald Sun: "After 12 successive Test wins on home soil and two years without a draw, Australia might have last found an opponent it cannot beat: the weather. Rain is forecast for the weekend.

"Australia has racked up a record 23-match run (20 wins, three losses) of results since its last draw, against Sri Lanka in Colombo in September, 1999..."

"...For all the gloom which descended over the Gabba, the day was not without its bright spots.

"Gilchrist can burn off anyone at his best, but he was outscored 22 runs to 17 by [Shane] Warne and though he was 17 when Lee came to the crease, the youngster had closed to within a run when Gilchrist was 24.

"Then he opened up with a starburst of pull shots off Dion Nash and Lee chimed in by lifting Chris Cairns for four, enticing a payback sledge from the bowler.

"Lee strode out yesterday with a Test batting average of 21.75 and batted as if it was twice as high. At its best, his batting is a worthy combination of guts, technical assurance and a touch of flair.

"He also has the big shots and clubbed the stroke of the day when he slashed Cairns over backward point for six, a sweet payback for several massive Cairns sixes in New Zealand last year."

The Australian: "The Kiwis were constantly frustrated on the field as well, continually complaining to the umpires about a wet ball as Gilchrist (13 fours, one six) and Lee (nine fours, one six) plastered it all over the damp outfield.

"This prompted Gilchrist to join one of the conversations, claiming that he did not care how often the ball was changed in an attempt to keep the game moving.

"He was surprised that New Zealand did not "come at" the Australians harder yesterday after ripping the heart out of the middle order on Thursday to rebalance the match.

"They slowed down the over rate and set negative fields," Gilchrist said.

"The Australian vice-captain also believes that while the Kiwis have done their homework on the specialist batsmen, they were uncertain how to bowl to a free-swinging Lee, who played the shot of the day, a six sliced over third man from a Chris Cairns short ball."