Australia complete 208-run rout of New Zealand in opening test after controversial McCullum call
Skipper held out before being dismissed following a spirited knock of 80
A controversial umpiring decision ended Brendon McCullum’s valiant innings at 80 on Monday, killing off New Zealand’s chances in the first test and accelerating Australia’s rush to a 208-run victory.
McCullum represented the major obstacle to Australia’s victory push after New Zealand resumed at 142-3, needing 362 to win or to bat through 98 overs for a draw.
The New Zealand skipper was in good touch and in a defiant mood, stroking 10 fours and two sixes in a run-a-ball innings before he was given out caught at slip off Mitchell Marsh’s bowling, to a ball that lobbed off his pad and which he didn’t appear to nick.
He couldn’t review the decision because New Zealand had been unsuccessful on two prior referrals to the TV umpire.
McCullum’s dismissal came near the start of a batting collapse from New Zealand, when Australia took four wickets for seven runs in 19 balls.
Mark Craig, who survived a loud appeal for lbw on his first ball, extended the match with an unbeaten cameo of 26 in a record last-wicket partnership for New Zealand at the Gabba of 46 with Trent Boult, who was last out with the New Zealand total on 295.
Australia captain Steve Smith said the lopsided win was the perfect way for his lineup to start the domestic summer.
And while he later saw the error that led to McCullum’s dismissal, he said it was part of the system.
“He hasn’t hit that one. I didn’t notice that at the time,” Smith said. “They used up their two reviews and didn’t have one left.”
Australia had all the momentum after winning the toss in the series-opening match, declaring at 556-4 on the second day, bowling New Zealand out for 317 on the third and then declaring again in the second innings at 264-4.
New Zealand, meanwhile, had plenty of setbacks. The attack struggled without Tim Southee, who injured his back bowling in the first innings and is doubtful for the second test at Perth, and the batting lineup was weakened by a back injury to James Neesham that will rule the allrounder out of the remainder of the three-match series.
The biggest blow, though, was McCullum’s dismissal in the penultimate over with the old ball, when Marsh took wickets with consecutive deliveries.
Former skipper Ross Taylor (26) added six to his overnight score before attempting to hook a Josh Hazlewood delivery and gloved a catch to Smith at second slip. McCullum continued with Neesham, dancing down the wicket and clobbering Lyon over long-on for six to bring up his 50 from 44 balls and raising New Zealand’s 200 with a swept single from Nathan Lyon.
Neesham (3) was next to go, fending away a Mitchell Johnson short ball and caught easily at short leg by Joe Burns and B.J. Watling (14) was trapped lbw to Lyon and reviewed the decision – the last referral allowed for New Zealand until the 80th over.
That’s what hurt McCullum, when umpire Nigel Llong ruled that he got an inside edge onto his pad that carried to slip in the 79th. Marsh trapped Doug Bracewell lbw for a first-ball duck on the next delivery, and it was effectively all over for New Zealand.
McCullum admitted he was frustrated, but said Llong was one of the best umpires in world cricket.
“That’s the game we play – we’ve got to cop it sweet,” he said of the decision referral system. “We used two reviews as well; no regrets there.”