HOBART, (Reuters) – New Zealand paceman Doug Bracewell took six wickets in a devastating spell of bowling to fire his country to a dramatic first test victory over Australia since 1993 by just seven runs yesterday.
Australia, requiring 241 for victory on the fourth day of the second test, had appeared to be grinding their way to their target on the back of David Warner’s maiden test century until Bracewell (6-40) helped send them tumbling from 159 for two to 233 all out.
The victory was the first on Australian soil for the Black Caps since 1985 and came despite opener Warner’s unbeaten 123, which earned him the man of the match award in his second test.
In a thrillingly tense finish, Warner and Nathan Lyon put on 34 for the last wicket before Bracewell bowled the spinner through the gate for nine, ending what had been a topsy-turvy test match on a greentop wicket at the Bellerive Oval.
New Zealand’s victory, only their third in Australia, levelled the series at 1-1 after the hosts won the first test in Brisbane by nine wickets.
“We believed in ourselves that we could win this match, we knew we had to fight, we knew we had to play a lot better than we did in Brisbane,” New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor told reporters.
Australia had started the day on 72 without loss and confident of victory despite being bundled out for 136 in their first innings on Saturday.
“Obviously disappointed, no doubt,” said Australia captain Michael Clarke. “The way we played in Brisbane was outstanding and I thought we were pretty inconsistent throughout this test match.
“I want to pay credit to David Warner for his first test century today and also to Nathan Lyon for the way he hung in there.
“I think if a few of us batters had shown the character and courage he showed today, we wouldn’t be standing here with the same result today.”
New Zealand struck almost immediately after play started with quick Chris Martin having Phil Hughes caught by Martin Guptill in the slips for 20.
It was the fourth time the Martin-Guptill combination had claimed the wicket of Hughes in the series and probably ended the embattled lefthander’s hopes of a place in the side for the upcoming series against India.
Warner combined with Usman Khawaja to put on 50 runs for the second wicket before a brilliant catch from Taylor in the slips off the bowling of debutant Trent Boult sent Khawaja back to the pavilion for 23.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had been looking for a big score on his home island and settled in well enough but had made just 16 when he slapped a short ball from Bracewell straight to Tim Southee at extra cover. Bracewell’s next over put the match back in the balance when he dismissed Clarke and Michael Hussey for ducks on consecutive balls.
“(Dougie) bowled outstandingly well for a young guy, 21, in only his third test match against Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, that’s something to tell your grandkids about,” Taylor said.
Clarke was deceived by an outswinger and caught in the slips by Taylor, before an inswinger trapped Hussey lbw with umpire Asad Rauf forced to reverse his decision after a TV review. Warner reached his century with two runs through square leg soon after lunch but the Australians were reduced to 192-6 when Tim Southee had Brad Haddin, the last recognised batsman, caught by Taylor for 15.
Peter Siddle (two) followed three balls later with Southee again taking the wicket courtesy of a catch by Jesse Ryder before Bracewell took over to end the match.
James Pattinson, who was named man of the series after taking 14 wickets at the cost of 196 runs in his first two test matches, had made four when he got a thick edge which Guptill snapped up in the slips. Two balls later a peach of a delivery clean-bowled Mitchell Starc for a duck to leave the Australians languishing on 199-9 and set up the nailbiting climax.
“They fought the whole way,” Taylor added. “We would have won by 40 runs against some teams but the way Lyon and Warner played, I nearly had a heart attack, I think.”
New Zealand 150 (D. Brownlie 56; J Pattinson 5-51) and 226 (R. Taylor 56)
Australia first innings 136
Australia second innings (overnight 72-0)
P. Hughes c Guptill b Martin 20
D. Warner not out 123
U. Khawaja c Taylor b Boult 23
R. Ponting c Southee b Bracewell 16
M. Clarke c Taylor b Bracewell 0
M. Hussey lbw b Bracewell 0
B. Haddin c Taylor b Southee 15
P. Siddle c Ryder b Southee 2
J. Pattinson c Guptill b Bracewell 4
M. Starc b Bracewell 0
N. Lyon b Bracewell 9
Extras (lb-18, b-3) 21
Total (all out, 63.4 overs) 233
Fall of wicket: 1-72 2-122 3-159 4-159 5-159 6-192 7-194 8-199 9-199
Bowling: Martin 16-4-44-1, Boult 12-1-51-1, Southee 19-3-77-2, Bracewell 16.4-4-40-6
Two-test series drawn 1-1