WICKET! Watling c Burns b Pattinson 7 (New Zealand 58-5)
WICKET! Nicholls lbw b Cummins 0 (New Zealand 46-4)
WICKET! Taylor c Burns b Cummins 4 (New Zealand 46-3)
Welcome to day three at the ‘G!
Good morning to you all. Day three, or moving day as we cricket writers call it when there’s no better introduction to go with than ripping something off from golf. But for New Zealand, this is survival day first and foremost. At different periods through this series, the the visitors have found something from nothing. Having lost Kane Williamson, their skipper and superstar, not long before the close last night, they now need plenty to go their way if they are to withstand the inevitable Australian surge. In simple terms, they have to bat all day.
With Ross Taylor, there is always hope of such a feat. Yes, he was lucky to survive a compelling leg before shout when James Pattinson was steaming in just before stumps, but the veteran is in form and has the patience for the task. Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling have also achieved this often enough in Test cricket. The real quiz here is whether they can do so on this much bigger stage.
For the home side, their quicks were swaming last night in the best traditions of a bowling group who had their feet up for nearly two days. It being Saturday, there’s every reason to think there’ll be another 60,000 Melburnians in to urge then on – especially Pattinson, the home town boy who has been waiting for an MCG return for eight years. With a hint of volatile bounce on show already, the dice is loaded their way. The Kiwis, of course, are still 223 away from the follow-on. Eeek.
But let’s be positive. Let’s hope the Black Caps can show some of the backbone that has elevated them to the second ranked team in the world. Let’s hope we’re sitting here in seven hours with a serious contest on our hands. And if not, let’s enjoy the world-class Australian bowlers going to work. And whatever the case, enjoy it with myself and JP Howcroft. We’re looking forward to your company.