Australia's marks out of 10 April 1, 2010

Katich and Co deliver for Australia

Australia swept past New Zealand in two games to maintain their unbeaten Test summer. Marcus North confirmed his spot while Ryan Harris and Phillip Hughes delivered promising performances for the future. However, the result was set up by a core group of Simon Katich, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger.

9
Simon Katich
Consistent and committed, he led the run list with 291 and was a key reason for Australia's strong finish in Hamilton. His 88 carried them in the first innings and his 106 ensured they regained all the power in the second. Still can't crack that massive score, but is an essential in any conditions.

Mitchell Johnson
Started slowly but finished on a high with 10 wickets for the match in Hamilton. The pitch was flat and lifeless, especially when New Zealand bowled, but Johnson made the batsmen jump and hop and wince while operating around 150kph. He started with 4 for 59 and wrapped up the game before lunch on the final day with 6 for 73. Deserves his rest before the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean later in the month.

Doug Bollinger
Captured his second five-wicket haul of the summer in the first innings at Wellington and gained breakthroughs in every subsequent innings. His movement, angle and bounce were always a threat and he narrowly out-performed Johnson with 12 victims at 23. Has become a popular and important member of the side and proved two left-armers can succeed in the same Australian team.

8.5
Michael Clarke
Proved he could cope with anything after the public break-up of his engagement. Returned for the first Test to post a personal best of 168, winning widespread admiration for his mental and physical deeds. Added 28, 63 and the wicket of Mathew Sinclair to provide more value in the second Test. The captaincy succession plan remains in place.

Marcus North
Saved his career with his century in Wellington and backed up with a much more fluent 90 in Hamilton in a pressure-relieving return. The selectors want the No.6 involved in the Ashes and he has the winter to work on some technical flaws that led to his extended slump before the series. Remains a boom or bust player, but is currently paying off.

7
Ryan Harris
The surprise performer of the summer who found his feet at Test level after jumping the queue through a series of stand-out one-day performances. A skiddy bowler who can be very fast, he gained six wickets on debut in Wellington and followed up with another three in the second game. Did not look out of place despite a limited season that began with knee surgery, and will look to cement an Ashes spot.

5
Michael Hussey
Was workmanlike without being fully comfortable. A 67 in the second innings in Hamilton was the high mark of his collection of 93 runs, but there was a potentially worrying pattern in his dismissals. All three exits were the results of edges behind.

Brad Haddin
Finished the series with a 40-ball 48 but had limited opportunities with the bat due to Australia's firing top order. Collected six catches in the second Test, but was untidy at times behind the stumps after a long campaign.

4.5
Phillip Hughes
Showed his explosiveness in the second innings at Wellington after exposing his vulnerability in the first. With 86 not out from 75 balls he produced an awesome performance to finish the 10-wicket victory, but won't be a true star until he can deliver consistent displays on the opening day. Must now wait for Katich or Watson to be injured, or Watson to be moved down the order.

Shane Watson
Got too excited in the second Test after missing the first game with a hip strain suffered in the one-day series. After such a stunning summer he thinks he can do anything - often he can - and departed both times to pull shots to Tim Southee. With time will find the balance between domination and recklessness.

4
Ricky Ponting
Still capable of brilliance, but is unquestionably a wonderful batsman on the wane. His judgement - and leg speed - has diminished and opposition attacks can now target him with the short ball and airy hits to the legside from straighter deliveries. Two run-outs gave him 13 dismissals of that type, which is the most in Test history, and restricted his scores to 41, 22 and 6.

Nathan Hauritz
Won respect for his three wickets in Wellington in 49 second-innings overs, about half of which were delivered into a gale-force wind. Didn't seem as comfortable as he had been at home, which was highlighted by 16 no-balls, and had only four victims. Contributed with 41 not out in the declaration at Hamilton.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments