New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 4th day

Johnson blasts make New Zealand suffer

The Bulletin by Peter English

March 30, 2010

Comments: 8 | Text size: A | A

New Zealand 264 & 185 for 5 need another 294 runs to beat Australia 231 & 511 for 8 dec (Katich 106, North 90)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


BJ Watling is annoyed after nicking Mitchell Johnson, New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 4th day, March 30, 2010
Mitchell Johnson is excited after removing BJ Watling on the way to figures of 3 for 39 © Getty Images
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Mitchell Johnson took out his frustration at a first Test pair by hurting New Zealand and putting Australia on target for a comfortable series cleansweep. Johnson stung the hosts in their impossible pursuit of 479 with 3 for 39 and left a few physical bruises as well during hostile spells either side of tea.

New Zealand need a world-record chase to level the series but there is virtually no chance of that after another modest top-order performance left them at 185 for 5. While the pitch is still excellent and the forecast is for another sunny day, they still require 294 runs, with Martin Guptill (29) and Brendon McCullum (19) the only remaining men capable of long stays.

They will do well to make it to lunch if Johnson repeats the effort he produced after Marcus North's 90 rushed Australia towards their lunch-time declaration of 511 for 8. Johnson removed Tim McIntosh and BJ Watling before tea and after the break delivered the crucial blow when Ross Taylor edged a ball angling across him.

There was no respite for the batsmen when Johnson was involved as he operated around 150kph and moved the ball teasingly at times. New Zealand had to open with a century stand or more to have a chance and they did well until Johnson came on at second-change.

In his second over he bowled McIntosh with an off-cutter that darted between pad and a diagonally-defensive bat. Johnson quickly made Sinclair wince when hitting him in the back with a short one that deflected for four legbyes.

Four overs later Watling (24) pushed Johnson through cover for a boundary, but departed chasing a repeat and edged to Brad Haddin. The wickets made Johnson the fastest left-arm bowler to 150 wickets, with the milestone arriving in 34 Tests, and he had 2 for 18 from his opening spell of six overs.

Taylor and Sinclair were in decent shape during a stand of 54 before Taylor (22) was tempted into pushing at a rising ball going away from him and Haddin had his second catch. Taylor was the only man capable of collecting a massive score to worry the Australians, who were triumphant at his departure.

Further trouble came when Sinclair was lbw for 29 having missed a straight one from Michael Clarke's part-timers, and they were 152 for 5 after Daniel Vettori was trapped in front trying to sweep Nathan Hauritz. A large batch of replays couldn't save the captain in his 100th Test and his milestone match is almost certain to end in a heavy defeat.

In the first session North, Clarke (63), Haddin (48) and Hauritz (41) all swung freely to increase the advantage after Australia resumed on 333 for 4. Ricky Ponting has given his rebuilding attack more time to dismiss their opponents this summer, knowing he lacks the firepower of previous years, and he closed the innings after the two-and-a-half-hour first session. Given the work of Johnson and the application of the local batsmen, he could have gone on for much longer.

North was attacking, especially when driving down the ground, and the freedom of setting a target allowed him to relax. There were brutal shots in his 16 fours and a six as he hoped for his second century of the series, but he went 10 runs short after walking to a catch behind.

He swept hard at Vettori and McCullum collected a smart legside take, with North leaving just as the New Zealanders were calling for a review following Asad Rauf's apparent not-out call. Next ball Vettori watched Johnson hit his first delivery to Jeetan Patel at long-on, but the mistake didn't matter at the time as the side's lead had already passed 400. It would be a problem for New Zealand a couple of hours later.

Clarke was breezing along until he was lbw to a ball coming back sharply from Brent Arnel, walking off after a failed referral. Haddin was excited when he arrived and targeted Arnel, who he hit for sixes straight down the ground and to long-on, in his explosive 40-ball display.

Patel bowled Haddin with a big-turning offspinner and the declaration came after Hauritz and Ryan Harris added an unbeaten 58 for the ninth wicket. Despite his harsh treatment, Arnel was New Zealand's most successful fast bowler with 3 for 77 while Vettori and Tim Southee finished with two wickets each. The locals deserved to be upbeat after the first day when they dismissed Australia for 231, but since then they have been out-classed by an outfit determined to finish the summer with an unbeaten Test record.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Winsome on (March 31, 2010, 20:21 GMT)

Wow, Trevor Hickman, are you a frustrated fast bowler? You sound rather bitter there.

Johnson bowled some excellent sessions in the Ashes once he got over his mindflip. And his action has never been questioned as far as I am aware. You probably think Malinga is illegal as well.

Posted by mlhgja on (March 30, 2010, 21:23 GMT)

This NZ side lost this game in the first session on the 2nd day, and Australia have been under no pressure since. If NZ wanted to win, then they should have put up a 200 run lead - then the Aussie batsmen would have been under some pressure. The Aussies are clearly a better side, but NZ have performed well below their ability and talents in the test series. The pace bowlers have lacked any intent - apart from Southee on day 1 - and have made it easy for the Aussie batsmen - they just get their eye in and then blast some easy boundaries. The top order has been pathetic - apart from Taylor's ton - and they have been so defensively minded, that the Aussie bowlers have been under no pressure at all. Against Aussie, you can't wait for the bad ball, you need to make the good balls look bad and make the bowlers question themselves. These 2 tests have been a vacation for the Aussies. Perhaps some of the young NZ team won't like being humiliated and actually step up and play next time!

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 30, 2010, 21:20 GMT)

@popcorn. Dale Steyn was ICC TEST PLAYER of the yr, at 1 time and that was when the awards were more credible (although Johnson deserved the last 1 due to the fact that he made RUNS as well as took wickets, something people do over-look). In addition, variations alone don't make you a better bowler, if that was the case, Malinga is a better bowler than Mc Grath (hope I spelled it right),Curtly Ambrose and the currently playing Mohammed Asif? Having unfortunately been compelled to correct that...I will say that NZ has a blue-print for an improving side. Ryder for Mc Intosh and Mills or Williamson for Chris Martin and or Patel looks decent for the near future.

Posted by gudolerhum on (March 30, 2010, 14:35 GMT)

I agree, Martin has not even looked like taking a wicket. His direction is poor his pace is not there and at the moment he is just not up to Test class and not against a steam working their way back to dominance. He needs to go away and work at his game before he can be considered again. I am sorry for Vettori, he deserves a better milestone match than he is experiencing. At present he is the only real world class player in the team but there are others who can make it there too with the right application and working on their skills. NZ is always an entertaining team to watch and good luck to them. I look forward to seeing them here in the Caribbean World T20 soon!

Posted by TrevorHickman on (March 30, 2010, 11:53 GMT)

Johnson looks a world class player when the pressure is off him. I'm not so sure whether he can really do it when Australia are up against it. Witness the last Ashes where he disappeared for 5 tests (only partially recovering form in the final two tests when he really should have been dropped).

I also believe his slingshot bowling action has also started to look increasingly suspect and should be subject to further investigation. His first wicket in the NZ first innings looked decidedly dodgy, it swung incredibly, but he released the ball somwhere around his hip. I reckon I could look as good as him if I were allowed to chuck the ball down in the same way.

Posted by knapsta on (March 30, 2010, 11:28 GMT)

Boys vs men i'm afraid. The nz batsmen have shown no will to survive or spend at the crease. Today was the perfect opportunity for our batsmen to spend as much time at the crease as possible and just bat, yet as they showed through a lack of application they just can't. This is test cricket, not T20, not a one dayer and yet they have batted as though it is one of the latter. McCullum must bat before Vettori otherwise he is completely wasted and only has one player to make a partnership with. Top 3 are walking wickets, Taylor wants to score at 200mph, and a tail that make Courtney Walsh and Glenn McGrath look like batting legends. The comment from the NZ team at the end of the days play summed it up for me, "We're happy with how we went today and are in a good position to push on tomorrow" Hmmm............I want whatever he's having

Posted by popcorn on (March 30, 2010, 10:14 GMT)

1) Why is it said that Dale Steyn is the best fast bowler in the world? A healthy debate on the variations and speed and number of wickets will show Mitchell Johnson is better.Incidentally,has Dale Steyn won any ICC Awards? No?Johnson has. 2) Marcus North need not have walked, like Adam Gilchrist.Sure,the batsman knows he nicked,but,as we all know,ears play tricks,so it could have been the top of the bat on the pad that Northy and McCullum heard.So why not take the referral when available? Australia did not need any referrals after this one, even if it failed.

Posted by Rev0408 on (March 30, 2010, 6:22 GMT)

At the very least NZ can take a few positives out of this Test. Arnell has performed well - anyone who takes wickets against a top side should be one of the first on the team sheet. On the other side of the coin, this should be the final Test for Chris Martin. He's lost pace, movement, and has no chance of keeping Tuffey or even Mills out of the side for the next series. Taylor's century was great - even though he was given a couple of lives, that is cricket and without him the result would already be final. The two openers acquitted themselves better in this match. If Guptill can bat more than the first session tomorrow (even without scoring runs) it would be a good effort.

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