Australia eye whitewash heading into Sydney Test
January 1, 2020 8:38 am
Australia are one win away from their first perfect Test summer in six years after wrapping up the trans-Tasman trophy with a 247-run flogging of New Zealand.
Nathan Lyon bowled Australia to victory on Sunday’s fourth day of the second Test at the MCG, giving them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
If they win in Sydney, it will mark the first time since the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash they have won all Tests in a home summer without a loss or a draw.
It would also cap off a dominant run for the team who were trounced by India this time last year, having won every Test this season inside four days.
“We want to win every Test,” captain Tim Paine said.
“We know we have wrapped up the series today. But with the Test championship, every match is really important.
“Winning the series is almost less important until we wrap it up next week, hopefully with another win.
“We want to hit that fifth Test of the summer with the same energy we did the first Test at the Gabba.”
The Aussies were dominant again on Sunday, with Tom Blundell offering the only real resistance for New Zealand.
He batted superbly to hit his second century in just his third Test, out for 121 in his maiden first-class match as an opener.
But it mattered little as the Black Caps finished on 9-240, chasing 488 for victory, with Trent Boult unable to bat because of a broken hand.
James Pattinson also claimed 3-35 on Sunday to make it six wickets for the match in his first Test on Australian soil in almost four years.
The Victorian broke the Black Caps’ backs with the key scalps of skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in one over just before lunch.
Williamson’s wicket came via a controversial DRS call which showed the ball just clipping his leg stump, after he was given out lbw on-field.
It summed up a miserable Test for the New Zealand captain.
After winning the toss and bowling, he watched man-of-the-match Travis Head’s century help Australia to 467 in the first innings.
He scored just nine in his first dig as his team were all out for 148, before Australia hit 5(dec)-168 in their second innings.
“Every time he walks out to bat, we desperately want to get him out,” Paine said.
“He’s one of the best batsmen in the world. We’re bowling really well to him at the moment.
“We’re making them bowl a lot of overs and making him make a lot of decisions in the field.
“That’s what we want to do: wear opposition players down – particularly their best player and captain.”
Lyon also kept up his strong summer, with his 4-81 taking his last-innings wicket tally to 13 from the past three Tests.
His dismissal of Henry Nicholls for 33 was his best, spinning one past his bat to have him stumped after he’d been hit down the ground for six.
Pat Cummins finished his dominant year without a wicket on Sunday, but still played a key role in the victory with 5-28 in the first innings.
The loss ended New Zealand’s unbeaten run in Test series, having drawn or won their past seven going back to early 2017.