Niall Anderson sums up the final day of the final test between the Black Caps and Australia - including the players who are set to be dropped from the side following the 3-0 whitewash.
The end of test careers?
While many will call for heads to roll after the Black Caps' horror series, it's likely most of the squad will still be picked for next month's test series against India.
The exceptions will come on the fringes of the squad. Jeet Raval's test career is likely over unless he makes a truckload of domestic runs, with Tom Latham and Tom Blundell having done enough to deserve a run as the Black Caps' new opening partnership, and the likes of Glenn Phillips and Will Young more versatile options to have in the squad than Raval.
Phillips may stick around in the squad as that back-up squad batsman initially, but unless there are injuries, his cameo will consist of just one test for now, a fact he is aware of.
However, one discarded player might be Matt Henry. Still a first-choice one-day bowler, Henry could struggle to reclaim his test spot – now at best New Zealand's fifth-choice seamer - with his returns of 1-94 and 1-54 at the SCG, albeit with a broken thumb, continuing a barren test run which sees his bowling average at an ugly 50.2 through 12 tests.
If fit, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Lockie Ferguson are a clear top four in the seaming stakes, and Henry could even be surpassed by the likes of Hamish Bennett or Kyle Jamieson if deemed to have wasted one too many opportunities.
However, despite their poor batting displays in Australia, the top seven from the Boxing Day test should all be easy selections against India in February, though there will be one headache for the selectors…
In a spin
A highly unscientific Herald poll asking who would be the spinner selected to face India produced split opinion yesterday, with all of Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Mitchell Santner and Ajaz Patel receiving support. Neither Astle nor Somerville completely took their opportunity in Sydney, while Santner had a terrible tour, meaning Patel's absence may have been a blessing in disguise.
Astle might have the inside running though - he took three wickets and showed promise with the bat, with an unbeaten 25 and quick 17 - but he went 33 overs without a maiden, and spilled a glorious caught-and-bowled chance to remove Marnus Labuschagne for four in the second innings - a wicket that would surely have added to his claims for the incumbency in New Zealand.
With spinners often asked to play a holding role in New Zealand conditions, Astle's comparative economy struggles - being a more attacking spinner than the other three contenders - could be held against him, though his superior batting when compared to Somerville and Patel is a fillip.
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However, if a green seamer is produced in Wellington or Christchurch, the fifth option – no spinners at all – might be the end result.
One understated aspect of the Black Caps' mass changes for Sydney was the downgrade in fielding it caused. Out went Santner, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls – all fantastic fielders – and in came Somerville, Astle, Henry, Raval and Phillips, of which only Phillips could be classed above-average. Some of the ground fielding in Australia's second innings was supremely sloppy, with Astle's sitter the worst of the tour.
Poor 6'7" Jamieson, expected to largely carry the drinks in Sydney, ended up being one of the busiest men on the park, filling in regularly for the injured Henry and when Raval was sick. Often having to get his long levers quickly down low to save runs, he did a commendable job, but it summed up the Black Caps' lack of options.
A curious penalty
Australia were pinged five penalty runs for David Warner running on the pitch in the second innings – a call deemed by commentators to be harsh, and one that left Warner confused. It added five runs to New Zealand's first-innings score, meaning they retrospectively passed the follow-on for the first time all series (Well, kind of) – and even taking the incident at its most cynical, it was soon proven that there was no need at all for Australia to try and cheat the rules, such was their dominance.
Australian captain Tim Paine tried to play down any drama.
"I wasn't quite sure what was going on at the time, I only saw it really quickly. The footage I saw on TV looked okay, that he tried to get off as quick as he could. The umpires saw it differently.
"I didn't see too much in it, certainly wasn't Davey trying to do that on purpose from our side. The wicket was breaking up as it was, it didn't need to break up any more, so we'll wait and see what comes of it."