A Kiwi rejuvenation initiated by the brilliance of Kane Williamson has reduced the Blackcaps first innings deficit to just 49. One of New Zealand’s biggest shortcomings with the bat this series has been their inability to support Williamson…queue Ross Taylor. After being made to look pretty average at the Gabba, Taylor has bounced back in style as he bludgeoned a record breaking 235 Not Out on a placid Perth pitch. Taylor batted through to stumps in what was the biggest individual score from a Kiwi against Australia, beating Martin Crowe’s longstanding record along the way. After registering New Zealand’s record stand of 265 with Kane Williamson earlier on in the day, the series’ 9th ball change seemed to do the trick for Australia as Hazlewood broke the formidable partnership. A tricky 45 minute spell ensued with Mitchell Starc cranking up the heat, but Taylor successfully weathered the storm to see New Zealand through to 6-510.
In a series that had fans so excited to see Brendan McCullum, the skipper disappointed again, failing to get a score as he attacked with his custom carelessness. One thing you can say about crickets do-gooder is that he clearly had no intention of playing for the draw, making this apparent from ball one as he continued to ride his luck against Starc with a series of swipes outside the off-stump. Mitchell Marsh eventually cleaned him up with a straight one just after the tea break in an innings that you felt could have ended any ball.
Whilst the chances of a Blackcap victory at the WACA remains slim, if McCullum’s men can avoid defeat they will head into Adelaide’s day-nighter with a chance of salvaging a series draw. Broadcasters and sponsors will be secretly hoping both teams have something riding on the final Test to avoid their summers showpiece becoming a dead rubber. Cricket Australia announced that ticket sales for the final Test have reached an Ashes level of demand. It would be nice for fans to go home talking about a positive evening of Test cricket, rather than the scrutiny around the pink ball that has dominated the build up.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, there’s still a lot of cricket to be played in this Test match, in what should be an intriguing final two days play.