THEY came, they saw, they conquered.
And now Australia is once again the number one Test playing nation in the world.
The second Test match between Australia and the Kiwis will be a memorable one, less so for Australia’s win and more so from the remarkable knock from retiring New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
The Kiwi master blaster teed off on the Australians, belting the fastest ever test century in his swan song match.
His ton came off just 52 balls, the Aussies powerless to stop his onslaught, where he admitted he tried to hit “every ball for four or six”.
In the end, when he fell for 145 off just 79 balls, laced with 21 boundaries and six sixes, McCullum had rescued the Kiwis from a precarious 3/32 and put them on track to post 370.
But, what looked like a good score, proved to be any thing but as Aussie opener Joe Burns and number four Steve Smith smashed the Kiwi bowlers off the park.
Coming together at 2/67, the pair put on a massive 289 for the third wicket, before Burns and then Smith were eventually dismissed within one run of each other with the score at 356 and 357.
Burns’ masterful, but patient 170 came off off 370 balls, with 20 boundaries, while Smith made yet another Test ton, 138 off 241 balls – a little slower than his opposing number, but just as damaging.
Adam Voges continued his rampant form with 60 – a far cry from the totals he has been posting – and Nathan lyon hit 33 to help get the Aussies to 505 and a lead of 135 runs.
Wagner was the man for the Kiwis, bowling 32.1 overs and grabbing 6/106 in a career best haul.
The Kiwis lost opener Martin Guptill for a duck and it looked a worry, but Tom Latham (39) and the man set to take over from McCullum as captain, Kane Williamson, steadied the ship.
Williamson top scored with 97, while Watling (46) and Anderson (40) contributed again.
As did Henry, whose valuable 66 down the order gave the Kiwis hope.
Bird was the destroyer this time with 5/59, while Pattinson also tore through with 4/77.
With 201 to get, openers Dave Warner (22) and Burns got the score to 49, with Usman Khawaja then making 46, before Burns and Smith shared yet another match winning partnership.
Smith backed up his first innings ton with 53 off 46 balls, and it was left to he and Voges (10 not out) to hit the winning runs.
But Burns completed his man of the match effort with 65 at the top of the order, backing up his brilliant first innings dig.
The win put the Aussies back on top of the Test rankings for the first time since 2014 and gave them a $1.39 million cash prize to boot, thanks to the 2-0 Trans Tasman Trophy series win.
The side has endured much upheaval, with player retirements and droppings signalling the end of an era, but Smith says this is just the start of a new time of Aussie dominance.
“It is a good start for us,” Smith said.
“We want to win every series that we play.
“We were able to adapt to these conditions really well … hopefully we can do that when we play that next Test tour.
“A lot of credit has got to be given to the guys who have recently retired.
“The ranking system goes for quite a while and those guys were quite a big part of our success. ”Having said that, the guys that have stepped up to the plate since those six big retirements have been outstanding.
“I’m really proud of the way the boys have been performing.”
Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum, who was sent out with a standing ovation and a guard of honour, spoke graciously about his career after the much, but signalled a warning that the Australians had the depth to dominate the Test arena for a long time.
“They’ve got depth as we’ve seen in these two series (against New Zealand in New Zealand and in Australia last year),” McCullum said.
“The bowling line-up in this series is quite different and they’ve all stepped up.
“They have blown us off the park in both matches … (and) proven why (they’re) the number one team in the world.”
The Aussies don’t play another Test until July, against the struggling Sri Lankans, but will have plenty of T20 cricket to focus on, with three matches against the South Africans as a warm up for the ICC World T20 in March.
The Aussies will go into the T20 World Cup as the $6 second favourites with Crownbet.com.au to take the tournament, behind host nation India, at $3.25.
South Africa is then third on the line of betting at $6.50 after just having spanked England, which is $7, with the full West Indies squad available at $9, equal with the Black Caps. No other team is in single figures.
2016 ICC World T20 markets
South Africa ($6.50)
West Indies ($9)
New Zealand ($9)
Sri Lanka] ($13)
Hong Kong ($2001)
Odds provided by Crownbet.com.au
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