About the Match
Australia registered a phenomenal win against New Zealand in the first test by an innings and 52 runs as they pummelled down the hosts to 183 all-out in the first innings and restricted them to 327 runs in the second. The two teams will now battle it out in the 2nd Test that starts from 20th February at Christchurch; the Kiwis will be eager to give a winning farewell to their captain and draw level in this 2-match test series at home. The Aussies will come back stronger to win the series; on the other hand, it will be an emotional match for the hosts but they will be equally determined to make amends and make McCullum’s final test a special one.
Under McCullum, New Zealand rose to great heights, reaching No.1 ODI ranking and improving their statistics in tests; his leadership skills have turned around the way cricket is played in the country and he will have one last go at trying to defeat Australia at home in his last test match.
Brendon McCullum will lead the side which consists of batting giants like Martin Guptill, Tom Latham and Kane Williamson; all-rounders Corey Anderson and Henry Nicholls will provide stability to the middle order and try to redeem themselves here. They weren’t successful against Australia’s reverse-swing tactics and will have to put up a better effort here.
The bowling department will see Doug Bracewell being replaced by either Matt Henry or Neil Wagner due to injury; Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson will lead the pace attack while Mark Craig and Williamson will try to outwit the opponents with their spin tactics in the absence of Mitchell Santner. While the bowlers found success in the first test, the batsmen need to pull up their socks and come out all guns blazing if they want to post a stiff challenge to the high flying Aussies.
Joe Root continued his brilliance with the bat as he posted a heroic 109 off 124 deliveries while the other batsmen fell like a pack of cards; along with Alex Hales, who scored a well-made half century, Root helped build the total of 262 runs with contributions from lower order players Woakes and Rashid. The rest of the batting line-up fell quickly against the South Africans and they couldn’t get to the 300+ run score as witnessed in the previous games.
The bowlers tried their best to contain the Proteas as Broad gave the opening breakthrough with Amla’s wicket in the first over and Stokes, Topley and Rashid taking 2 wickets each. Chris Woakes removed Faf du Plessis and also caused Villiers’ run-out to cause huge upsets but they didn’t find an answer for Morris, who took the hosts to a comfortable win.
Their first two conquests in the start of the series saw the batsmen coming out all guns blazing and they will need to go back to doing that if they want to win the match and series here.
This being the last test match for McCullum, the Kiwis will leave no stone unturned to win the match; although Australia has an upper hand with their recent gigantic victory, we feel New Zealand will overcome its weaknesses to draw level and give a fitting farewell to their greatest captain