Sport Cricket With series won, Australia enjoys an extra day off before Sydney Test

With series won, Australia enjoys an extra day off before Sydney Test

Two in a row: Nathan Lyon (L) and teammates celebrate at the MCG after winning the second Test.
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In the end the MCG pitch was, well, perfect and the hosts could not quibble with the result either – perhaps just the video review system.

Australia ended the fourth day of the second Test against New Zealand just one win away from a perfect Test summer, smashing the tourists by 247 runs.

As in Perth, it was a victory set up by one long batting stint and a mixture of genuine pace and patient spin bowling.

The home side goes into the Sydney Test starting Friday looking for a win to take the series 3-0 and safe in the knowledge that the World No.2 Black Caps have been safely seen off.

The Aussies were dominant again on Sunday, with new opener Tom Blundell offering the only real resistance for New Zealand, smashing 121 until he was the last man out.

New Zealand finished on 9-240, chasing 488 for victory, with bowler Trent Boult unable to bat because of a broken hand he sustained in the Black Caps’ first innings.

Paceman James Pattinson set the scene early on Sunday taking three wickets in two overs and ending the day with 3-35, while Nathan Lyon finished off the middle order taking 4-81.

Another big winner was the MCG curator Matthew Page who hit his mark of delivering a safe and competitive wicket that both captains praised.

A Sheffield Shield game between Victoria and Western Australia at the venue was abandoned three weeks ago for being too dangerous.

After several dull recent Tests, the pitch was tricked up to a dangerous level in a Sheffield Shield match earlier this month, which had to be abandoned.

But Paine called the pitch presented for the Test match a fantastic wicket which had something for everyone.

“I thought it was a brilliant wicket. I thought it offered quite a bit on day one, if you bowled the right length,” Paine said. “The same on day two; then it started to spin a little bit.

I thought all the bowlers who bowled well took wickets and all the batters who applied themselves and spent some time out there scored runs.”

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson opted to bowl first after winning the toss and conceded the home side used the conditions better than the Black Caps.

“They did manage to extract a bit out of the surface and I think it was a good surface,” Williamson said.

“We had opportunities early from winning the toss; Australia negated that and played very well, then took the game away from us.

“It made way for a fair surface and a surface that is conducive to a result.”

For his part Paine is looking forward to Sydney saying:  “We want to win every Test”.

“We know we have wrapped up the series today. But with the Test championship, every match is really important.

“Winning the series is almost less important until we wrap it up next week, hopefully with another win.”

One thing the skipper says he won’t be doing is using his extra day off in Melbourne to take up an invitation to tour the ball-tracking truck after questioning its accuracy.

The review system was a key talking point of the Test, with Paine even admitting during the win it made him “disappointed”, “angry” and that he had doubts over its accuracy.

Paine was given out for 79 in the first innings to an lbw call despite the ball appearing to hit him outside the line.

Williamson also copped a harsh call on Sunday, while Ross Taylor and Travis Head were lucky to have calls go in their favour during the match.

It prompted the boss of the Virtual Eye system to extend an invite to Paine or any player to look at the system and see the technology involved.

But Paine said he wouldn’t use what would have been the fifth day of the match to visit the set-up, but said he might later in the summer.

“I did read this morning that I have got an invite, so I might take it up at some stage,” Paine said. “I’m not too interested.

“I’ve got the family in town (this week). I might get there at some stage. I’m actually doing some commentary after the Tests so I will have plenty of time to sneak in then.”

Regardless of his criticism, Paine conceded he did not want to see cricket go away from the technology.

“You’d hope it would be spot on,” Paine said. “It’s certainly got its good points. But there’s just some ironing out at times that needed to be done.

“I know they are trying to get it as a precise as they can. But I think as an aid to help the umpires get to the right decision, I think it’s good.”

-with AAP