The boundary-line acrobatics
After his heroic century in Australia's unsuccessful chase in Auckland, Marcus Stoinis needed something spectacular if he was to live up to his new reputation. He very nearly provided it in the penultimate over of New Zealand's innings, when Tim Southee smashed the ball high towards the midwicket boundary, where Stoinis leapt high and clutched the ball above his head, then threw it back in just as he landed. Stoinis' momentum carried him over the boundary and Pat Cummins nearby was unable to complete the catch. After a series of intensely scrutinised replays, the third umpire decided the back of Stoinis' foot had kissed the boundary while the ball was still in his hand, and for all of his magnificent athleticism, it was ruled a six.
One of the peripheral tasks that a stand-in captain must handle in international cricket is the decision whether to review umpiring decisions in the field, and Finch faced that challenge early in this match. In the very first over of the game, Mitchell Starc produced an excellent inswinging yorker that trapped Tom Latham dead in front, but umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge turned the appeal down. Finch opted against a review. It cost Australia little, though: Latham was out in Starc's next over, without having scored.
Dean Brownlie had not played an international match since 2014, and he certainly impressed on his return with an innings of 63 opening the batting. However, Brownlie was almost unrecognisable to viewers who had last seen him clean-shaven in his previous incarnation as an international batsman. Here, he sported a magnificent beard in the WG Grace tradition. It was as if he had spent his two years in the metaphorical wilderness in the actual wilderness.
Kane Williamson brought himself on to bowl at an important time in Australia's chase, with Aaron Finch starting to look threatening. It proved an inspired piece of captaincy, for Williamson's first ball was driven in the air back towards the bowler - the problem was that Williamson was slow to react and couldn't make the catch. As if to rub it in, Finch dispatched the next two balls for a four and a six.