Seamer Doug Bracewell bowled New Zealand to a sensational seven-run victory over Australia in the second Test in Hobart yesterday for the Black Caps’ first win in Australia for 26 years.
New Zealand captured eight wickets for 74 runs for a dramatic victory midway through the fourth day of an extraordinary Test match at the Bellerive Oval.
Bracewell finished with 6-40 off 16.4 overs in a match-winning performance to stun Australia, who appeared on track for victory at 159 for two chasing 241 runs to win.
However, Australia folded spectacularly and David Warner’s unbeaten maiden Test century went in vain as wickets tumbled around him. Nathan Lyon was bowled by Bracewell in the 64th over to claim victory.
It was the Black Caps’ first victory in Australia since 1985 as they tied the two-Test series after comprehensively losing the first Gabba Test by nine wickets.
“We believed in ourselves that we could win this match. We knew we had to fight, we had to play a lot better than we did in Brisbane,” New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor said.
Bracewell turned the match around with the wickets of Ricky Ponting (16), Michael Clarke (0), Michael Hussey (0), James Pattinson (4), Mitchell Starc (0) and Lyon (9).
“He bowled outstandingly well for a young guy, 21, and to come in only his third Test and to get Ponting, Clarke and Hussey, that’s something to tell your grandkids about,” Taylor said of Bracewell.
Clarke said his team were proving too inconsistent with their third defeat in eight Tests under his captaincy.
“You’re seeing some really good patches of individual excellence and as a team we’re playing really well in patches, but then you see the other side as well, where we’re letting ourselves down with very poor performances,” Clarke said. “We’re inconsistent at the minute which is giving us all a pain in the backside.”
Warner carried his bat to finish unbeaten on 123 off 170 balls with 14 boundaries to cement his Test position after fellow opener Phillip Hughes was out again cheaply.
Warner surprisingly was preferred to Bracewell as the official man of the match in a television viewers’ poll.
Wickets continued to fall around Warner, with Brad Haddin snapped up by Ross Taylor in the slips off Tim Southee and Peter Siddle taken at third slip off Southee for 2.
Bracewell removed Pattinson and Starc within three balls to have the Black Caps one wicket away from victory after Australia had lost seven wickets for 40.
Lyon survived two tense reviews for leg before wicket as Warner went after the runs against a spreadeagled field, before Bracewell finished the game when he bowled Lyon.
Ponting’s possible final Test innings in his home state finished with a whimper after he was given a standing ovation to the wicket.
Test cricket’s third-highest runscorer spooned a catch to cover after playing back to Bracewell and was out for 16 after scoring just five in the first innings.
Clarke was caught at slip by Taylor and Hussey was out first ball leg before wicket after a review went in bowler Bracewell’s favor.
Hughes’ Test future again looked uncertain after he was out in the day’s second over with no addition to his overnight score of 20.
It was the fourth straight time Hughes was caught by Martin Guptill in the slips off Chris Martin’s bowling in the series.
His latest batting failure — 41 in four innings against the Black Caps — will intensify the pressure on his spot ahead of the Test series with India, starting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.