AUS vs NZ: 2nd Test – Hosts bring 2019 to a glorious end by thrashing Kiwis


New Zealand again could not keep up with the intensity and sheer force of will which Australia showcase at home. The result – a 247 run thrashing in the second Test match of the series at MCG. With the victory, Australia have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

It was the same old story as the Australian bowlers beat the Kiwi batters into submission. For their part, New Zealand did not show much resistance as the hosts again asserted their dominance in home conditions.

Here we analyze how another poor showing from the Kiwis led to the loss:

Head, Cummins put the hosts in command

Batting first on the MCG deck certainly wasn’t an easy task. Boult and Southee certainly made the red cherry talk, troubling the Australian top order. But the batters again slugged it out, with Marnus Labuschagne (63), Steve Smith (85) and Tim Paine (79) all making handy contributions. Travis Head though was the star of the show, as he cemented his place in the Australian lineup with a career-turning knock of 114. With the middle-order clicking, the Aussies put up a score of 467 on the board. The Kiwis already staring down the barrel.

In reply, the New Zealand batters endured another collapse as they had no reply to the pace and bounce generated by the Australian pacers. Pat Cummins, after becoming the most expensive foreign purchase in IPL, showed why exactly he is so highly-coveted. Picking up another 5-wicket haul, he brought a sensational end to 2019 which has been highly memorable for him. The Kiwis would be skittled out for 148, with only Tom Latham (50) putting up any kind of resistance.

Putting the final nail on the coffin

Despite having a 319 run lead, Australia decided not to enforce the follow-on. The ploy was to inflict some further wear and tear on a deteriorating surface, which proved to be the correct move. Batting certainly was getting tougher, as proven by the trouble which the Australians faced in their second innings. But all the batters, except Steve Smith, managed to chip in some handy runs. The hosts put up a score of 168-5 on the board, setting the Kiwis a target of 488 runs.

This was always going to be a mountain too high to climb for the Kiwis. But they will take solace in the fact that Tom Blundell, a makeshift opener showed great character. He came out with an aggressive mindset, taking the attack to the Australian pacers. His knock of 121 was the first bit of genuine quality which a Kiwi batter has displayed in the series. Unfortunately for him, support from the other end was almost non-existent. Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) wreaked havoc with the ball in hand, as the Kiwis were again found wanting in the batting department. They could only post a score of 240 on the board. Succumbing to a 247 run defeat, many New Zealand players will have to take a long hard look in the mirror before the final Test in Sydney.