Result or draw? And which particular result? The draw seems most likely, yet we could be in for a compelling finish, too..
Evening session :: New Zealand 624 & 2/104 (K.Williamson 25*, R.Taylor 31*; M.Johnson 6-2-20-2) drew with Australia 9dec/559 & 7dec/385.
A one hour rain delay killed off all chances of a result, and as the match petered out to the inevitable draw, it all became about one departing great of the modern game.
Johnson bowled with freedom for one last time, and took both New Zealand openers with him before, finishing with 2/20 from his final spell in Test cricket. He finished with 313 Test wickets and was deservedly chaired from the field bad light, the umpires, and common sense brought an early finish to the match. Well played, Mitch..
Australia lead the series 1-0, heading into the final Test of the series, the ‘pink ball Test’ in Adelaide next week.
Afternoon session :: New Zealand 624 & 0/28 (T.Latham 15*, M.Guptill 13*) at Tea, trail Australia 9dec/559 & 7dec/385 by 293 runs.
- Johnson batted with the freedom of a man with nothing to lose, making a very handy 29, as Australia’s lead continued to build but with no real sign of a declaration. As the lead passed 300 though, the speculation only intensified for a run-a-ball chase for NZ from the remaining 50 or so overs in the day.
- With a couple of tail-end boundaries, Steve Smith called the Australians in, setting New Zealand 321 to win from 48 overs.
- ..which they sort of started chasing, for 8 overs, when suddenly it started raining. Tea was taken early, and they may well get back on, but you know, something remarkable would have to happen to see a result now…
Morning session :: Australia 5/331 from 92 overs (P.Nevill 22*, M.Johnson 20*; T.Southee 19-3-67-2) & 9 dec/559 at Lunch, lead New Zealand 624 by 266 runs.
- It’s been rumoured and whispered for weeks that it might be coming, but this morning it was confirmed; Mitchell Johnson (right) announced his retirement from international cricket after the completion of this Test before play. After 311 Test wickets – now 4th overall on the all-time Australian list – Johnson could see no point playing on, and becomes the fifth senior player of that generation to pull the pin since the start of the Ashes series in England. Michael Clarke and Shane Watson were two of them, and Johnson is only six months younger than them, so it was no great surprise. And to be fair, he has bowled in this series like a man who know the end is nigh; and when you talk about retirement, you almost certainly have.
- Steady Australian wickets throughout the session, but no real signs of declaration, nor of any sign that a result is being chased. Steve Smith could only add 7 to his overnight score; Adam Voges just 18. They fell to Trent Boultand and Tim Southee, respectively, with a bit of movement with the old ball. But once NZ took the new ball, runs were easy to come by again.
- A nice touch from the Black Caps, forming a guard of honour for Johnson’s last walk to the middle in Test Cricket.