December 11, 2011 by dixwah
Day Two: New Zealand are 3/139 in their second innings, an overall lead of 153
It was a tough pitch. And New Zealand’s medium-pacers bowled well. But 136 is a dreadful batting response which negated the excellent effort of the bowlers on day one.
The best thing for the Phil Hughes fan club (of which I am probably patron) is that the ordinary effort of his teammates gives him one more chance to sort himself out and state his case for a spot on Boxing Day.
Hughes’ deficiencies have overshadowed the failings of the rest of the line-up, who were brittle against an honest, but modest Black Caps attack.
Usman Khawaja fought hard yesterday but in his fifth Test has returned only one half-century. Ricky Ponting has one fifty in his last 16 digs.
Since dominating in Sri Lanka, Mike Hussey has only 83 runs from six innings.
Whereas in previous years an underperforming player could be carried, the fact the line-up is underperforming as a unit is putting matches at risk.
Unless Marsh and Watson return from injury, there’s also a lack of batsmen banging down the door with big runs at Shield level.
Someone like Ed Cowan, who’s always flavour of the month, had an ordinary season in 2010/11 butfollowed a hundred against New Zealand with Shield runs. He could just be the right man in the right place at the right time.
The positives are that it is New Zealand , so they’re just as likely to capitulate and allow Australia off the hook. It also makes the Australian cricket summer much more interesting.