Match Report:


Australia complete perfect summer with a series sweep

A thumping 279-run win in the third Test against New Zealand completes an unbeaten five-Test summer for Australia

Australia have completed their most dominant Test summer on home soil – completing five consecutive Domain Test wins inside four days – by handing New Zealand their worst defeat in almost 75 years of trans-Tasman campaigns.

In the wake of a stunning day-four batting surrender by the Black Caps who were dismissed for just 136 late on Monday afternoon, Australia secured victory by 279 runs to follow earlier hefty wins at Perth (296 runs) and Melbourne (247 runs).

Only once before – in New Zealand when Australia's star-studded Test team was at the peak of its powers in 2001 – have the Black Caps been whitewashed in a three-Test series by their opponents from across the ditch.

But never before have they been beaten by such a vast average margin, as was the case in this series that had promised a compelling contest between resurgent Australia and the world's second-ranked Test outfit, but proved to be hopelessly one-sided from the outset.

The glaring gulf between the teams was starkly exhibited by their contrasting batting efforts on day four at the SCG.

After David Warner crowned his redemptive summer with an unbeaten 111 that lifted Australia's overall lead to 415 when Tim Paine declared their second innings closed midway through day four, New Zealand's already lamentable tour yielded one final chapter of horror.

Warner adds another century to his golden summer

At 5-38, the Black Caps found themselves staring at potentially their lowest-ever Test score in Australia (76 at the Gabba in 2004) and maybe even their most meagre in almost 75 years of matches against their nearest and fiercest foes (42 in Wellington during the maiden series of 1945-46).

The latter embarrassment was spared due to some bold counter-punching by allrounder Colin de Grandhomme, whose defiant half-century was posted when he belted spinner Nathan Lyon for six over extra cover.

However, when he tried to hit the next delivery even further and instead skied a catch to deep mid-wicket, it signalled the end of NZ's resistance as their last four wickets tumbled for 29 runs and last man Matt Henry opted not to bat having suffered a fractured thumb on day one.

At the height of the late-innings free-fall, fast bowler James Pattinson typified the gulf in class and commitment that separated the teams when he sprinted more than 20 metres to hold a remarkable diving catch off Todd Astle.

Pattinson reels in an outfield screamer at the SCG

It also put Lyon on the path to a 10-wicket haul that ensured NZ's innings would never recover from the carnage that unfolded during the hour-and-a-half either side of tea, in which none of the re-cast top-half of the visitors' illness-ravaged batting line-up could make it to 25.

The tone was set when Tom Blundell, hero of the Black Caps’ fourth-innings defiance at the MCG a week earlier where he posted a memorable century, sliced the tenth ball he faced into the bandaged and bruised hands of Lyon, who completed a stunning diving catch at point.

Ten balls later, his fellow opener (and NZ's stand-in skipper in the absence of Kane Williamson) Tom Latham was adjudged lbw to a delivery that – similar to the one that ended Williamson's innings at the MCG – technology showed was barely clipping leg stump after Latham's review.

'Won't see too many better': Lyon drags in a beauty

But the on-field verdict issued by umpire Marais Erasmus meant Latham had to go, and his team was battling to avoid humiliation at 2-4 after four-and-a-half overs.

That scoreline became 3-22 when newly installed No.3 Jeet Raval feathered a catch in Lyon's first over (and forfeited a DRS review in the process), and then 4-22 when debutant Glenn Phillips fell in similar circumstances in Lyon's next over and left his team with no remaining reviews.

It was a review instigated by the umpires that saved Ross Taylor when, having reached eight, the veteran attempted to sweep Lyon and the ball ballooned from his boot into the gloves of Paine albeit with doubt existing over whether it had also been jammed into the pitch's surface.

Taylor was ultimately reprieved by video evidence, and soon after lifted Lyon to long-on to overtake former NZ skipper Stephen Fleming's career tally of 7172 to become his country's leading Test run-scorer in his 99th appearance.

However, his moment of glory lingered for less than an over as Pat Cummins produced a delivery of such class – pitching on middle stump before straightening slightly to smash into middle-and-off – that it would have feasibly knocked over the foremost batter from any Test nation.

It was only de Grandhomme's brave belligerence and a dour 150-minute innings of 19 from keeper B.J. Watling that prevented a complete rout and even greater embarrassment.

Up until the Black Caps batting spectacularly imploded, the day's talking point had been Umpire Aleem Dar's decision to penalise Australia's batters for twice running down the centre of the pitch, an offence that carries a five-run penalty sanction.

Which, in turn, reduced the victory target from 420 to 415 – a change that seemed semantic given the frailty of NZ's batting in the series to date, and which was rendered an absurdity after an hour at the crease in their second innings.

In the 13 overs that preceded the tea break, the Black Caps' top-order gave the impression they were batting on an altogether different, seemingly unplayable surface to the one that saw Warner and his allies Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne score with impunity earlier in the day.

Australia penalised five runs for running on the pitch

Scoring on the SCG pitch had proved problematic across the first three days, where both teams averaged a rate of less than three runs per over.

But from the resumption of play on day four, which saw Australia nursing a lead of 243 (later amended to 238 with the retrospective penalty), it was clear Warner and Burns wanted to increase that advantage as quickly as possible.

The pair took the attack to NZ's overworked quicks and under-the-pump spinners with lofted strokes that led Blacks Caps skipper Tom Latham to scatter his fielders, thereby allowing the Australians to deftly work the ball into the myriad gaps.

Their second century-plus opening stand of the summer stood as a stark point of difference to their opposition across five Domain Tests, indeed against all comers of late given no visiting openers have managed to reach 100 since South Africans Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen in 2011.

Warner's first half-century since his epic triple-ton in Adelaide last November had arrived from 82 balls faced, and Burns appeared set for the sizeable score that had eluded him since the summer's first Test in Brisbane until he was bamboozled by leg spinner Astle on 40.

Warner celebrates 24th Test hundred with trademark leap

Astle had fooled Burns with a well-disguised but slightly too short wrong-un in his previous over, but then followed with a fuller version that neither the opener nor umpire Dar seemed able to pick.

Dar's decision in favour of Burns was challenged by the Kiwis, with the ball-tracking technology showing it would have clipped the top of leg stump.

Astle should have been rewarded with a second breakthrough in his next over when Labuschagne, the undisputed form batter of the summer, spooned a return catch having scored just four.

But as had been the case for Lyon twice on the preceding day when bowling from the same (Paddington) end, Astle inexplicably failed to hang on to the chest-high chance and was left sprawled and inconsolable on the turf as the significance of his profligacy sunk in.

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By lunch, Australia had careered to 1-172 with their lead an already daunting 375 with interest focused equally on when Warner (89 at the break) would post his ton and Paine would call a close to the innings.

Those two events came to pass in quick succession, with Warner reaching triple figures with a neat clip through mid-wicket that saw him overtake his current men's team coach Justin Langer's tally of 23 Test tons, and draw level with former skipper Greg Chappell on 24.

That moment, and Warner's trademark celebratory leap to the rousing applause of his home-town crowd, was followed two overs later by the declaration after Labuschagne holed-out to long-on.

His dismissal for 59 meant he finished nine runs adrift of the record set by England's Walter Hammond in 1928-29 for the most runs (905) in a five-Test season in Australia.

Burns goes long and launches Astle over the ropes

But as Labuschagne had observed when he overtook former Australia great Neil Harvey last Saturday to complete the most productive five-Test summer by any local batter, his motivation is team success over personal achievements.

And with Australia's lead beyond 400, against an outfit that failed to reach 250 in the four Test innings of this series in which they fielded a full-strength batting line-up, the sooner they got started on completing their seamless summer, the quicker the deserved celebrations could be uncorked.

Australia XI: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon

New Zealand XI: Tom Latham (c), Tom Blundell, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Glenn Phillips, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner

Domain Test Series v New Zealand

Australia squad: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson

New Zealand: Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson (c)

First Test: Australia won by 296 runs

Second Test: Australia won by 247 runs

Third Test: Australia won by 279 runs