Australia wrap up resounding victory
New Zealand began with six wicket standing, but lasted only a little bit after lunch as Austrlia's bowlers swung them out for an innings-and-52-run victory
Australia 562 (Voges 239, Khawaja 140, Smith 71) beat New Zealand 183 (Hazlewood 4-42, Lyon 3-32) and 327 (Latham 63, Nicholls 59, Lyon 4-91, Marsh 3-73) by an innings and 52 runsScorecard and ball-by-ball details
Emphatic doesn't quite do it justice. Unrelenting throughout, Australia put on another exhibition of high quality bowling to seal a vast victory over New Zealand and place one hand on the ICC Mace awarded to the world's No. 1 Test team. A deflating result for the visitors in Brendon McCullum's 100th Test was only a tail-end flurry short of
New Zealand's heaviest ever loss at home to Australia.
Having set up the match with expert use of seaming early conditions on the first morning, Australia's bowlers asked quite different questions on the fourth morning. Mitchell Marsh
, Josh Hazlewood
and Jackson Bird all used reverse swing to good effect, while Nathan Lyon
homed in on a footmark outside the right-handers' off stump to gain sharp spin. The absence of Peter Siddle, resting a back complaint, was well compensated for.
Steven Smith will be a most contented captain, having overseen a performance in which many questions about this team have been answered. They chose the right XI for the conditions, they bowled impressively, and most importantly batted with command even after Joe Burns and David Warner were out cheaply with the ball still new on day one. New Zealand will be left to wonder over the significance of the "no-ball" that reprieved Adam Voges
endured longest for the hosts, on the way to making the highest score by a New Zealand debutant batting at No. 4. But his dismissal on 59 by Bird left the tail exposed to the bounce and conventional swing of the second new ball. Southee and Trent Boult entertained another strong Basin Reserve crowd with a late flurry against Lyon, but it was merely a parting shot.
Having lost McCullum from the last ball of day three, New Zealand's chances of survival were slim, and they narrowed further when the 63-over old ball began bending in both directions. Corey Anderson struggled with the ball moving away from him around the wicket, but after a few play and misses Smith directed Marsh to go over the wicket and try to straighten one down the line.
Two balls into the tactic, Marsh pitched one in line and swung it back to pin Anderson in front. Like McCullum he reviewed, but it was a futile gesture for a delivery crashing into middle and leg.
BJ Watling arrived and his first ball from Lyon hit the aforementioned footmark and narrowly missed spinning back to strike the off stump with the batsman offering no shot. Lyon took note of this, and it was not long before he delivered a slightly flatter delivery on the same line that had Watling playing back, fatally. The turning ball was through him in an instant.
Nicholls had absorbed all this pressure, but Bird's decision to send one down at a full length made the difference, coaxing the batsman into a flick across the line. Again there was some swing, and the ball flicked off the pads into the stumps. At this, the Australians took the second new ball, and a Hazlewood lbw review against Doug Bracewell was declined due to a lack of conclusive evidence before the interval.
Hazlewood had his due reward soon after resumption, when Bracewell was struck in front: this time there was no bat to confuse the issue. Southee's blows dented Lyon's figures somewhat, but the bowler was content to keep tossing it up in expectation of a miscue, which was exactly what happened.
Mark Craig and Boult entertained for a time also, but in playing so freely they did nothing so much as underline how well the Australians had bowled to the batsmen. A match over in fewer than four days had taken place on a pitch that would still be good for batting on day five. In pursuit of Test cricket's top perch, Smith's men had played to a very high standard indeed.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig