October 28, 2016

Australia win historic pink-ball Test

Australia’s team captain Steve Smith ® and teammate David Warner (2nd R) smile as they walk back with the Trans-Tasman trophy after defeating New Zealand in the first day-night cricket Test match at the Adelaide Oval on November 29, 2015. AFP

Australia on Sunday claimed a thrilling three-wicket victory over New Zealand inside three days at the Adelaide Oval in the first-ever day-night Test match.

Shaun Marsh anchored Australia to the cusp of victory before losing his wicket on 49, and the battling Kiwis set up a tense finish under the floodlights by also dismissing Peter Nevill to leave the home side seven wickets down.

Much to the crowd’s relief Peter Siddle, whose ailing grandmother passed away overnight, cracked the winning runs with a hobbling Mitchell Starc as his batting partner, to clinch a 2-0 series victory over the gallant Black Caps.
Australia won the first Brisbane Test by 208 runs and the second Perth Test was drawn.

The match was redemption for Marsh, who has struggled to hold down a place in the Australian team with inconsistent batting performances over his four years at Test level.

“It was fantastic for Shaun to get an opportunity,” said skipper Steve Smith. “He’s been batting extremely well and the way he played under pressure with his brother to put a partnership together was really crucial for us at that stage.”

The pink ball developed for day-night Tests triumphed over the bat in a fast-paced Test which attracted a total attendance of 123,736. The aim of the experiment is to bring the crowds back to the long form of the game.
“The bowlers have dominated this game and it’s great for cricket,” Smith said.

It was the first three-day Test match at the Adelaide Oval in 64 years-since the West Indies beat Australia by six wickets.

“I thought it was an outstanding Test match. It was closely fought. We’d dearly have loved an extra few runs today, but it wasn’t to be,” said Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum.

“It’s pretty hard to separate the two teams over the last two Test matches.”
Shaun Marsh had been dropped during the Ashes series in England in August and only came into the Adelaide Test as a replacement for injured number three Usman Khawaja.

He lost his younger brother Mitch during the final session, caught holing out to spinner Mitchell Santner for 28 with 26 runs still needed for victory.

Shaun Marsh lost his own wicket when he dabbled at Trent Boult and was snapped up by Ross Taylor at first slip.
Adam Voges, who had earlier shared a valuable 49-run fourth-wicket stand with Marsh, was out early in the final session-snapped up at second slip by Tim Southee for 28 off Boult, who finished with five for 60.

After being set 187 to win, the hosts were rocked by the double loss of key batsmen Smith and David Warner in the space of seven balls.

Smith pulled Doug Bracewell high into the air towards Santner on the leg-side. But the Kiwi debutant put down the skied chance to give the Australian skipper a massive letoff on two.

However Warner was out 12 balls later, caught at second slip by Southee off Bracewell for 35 in a big scalp for the Black Caps.

And the Kiwis got another major fillip when Smith was out leg before wicket to Boult seven balls later.
Smith reviewed the decision and the ball was tracked hitting him high on his pad. But the Hawk Eye technology had it just flicking the leg bail and that was enough to back up umpire Richard Illingworth’s on-field decision.
Smith left the field shaking his head after scoring just 14 and leaving his team on a precarious 66 for three, still 121 runs away from victory.

Smith’s departure signalled the arrival of Shaun Marsh at a crucial stage in the Australian innings and with victory not assured.

New Zealand earlier lost their last five wickets in the day’s first session to be bowled out for 208, a lead of 186.
Man-of-the-match paceman Josh Hazlewood led the Australian attack in the absence of the injured Mitchell Starc, taking six for 70 off 24.5 overs.

The Kiwis, who had resumed on 116 for five, lost their last five wickets for 92. Santner top-scored with an impressive 45 off 88 balls.

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