By Niall Anderson in Melbourne
Australian batsman Travis Head won the battle against the Black Caps bowlers on day two of the Boxing Day test at the MCG, but by the way he spoke about Neil Wagner at the end of the day, you could tell just how difficult the contest was.
Head notched his second test century with an impressive 114 as he anchored Australia's first-innings 467, but spoke at length about how tricky it was facing Wagner's hostile bowling.
"He's an absolute machine – it's been very impressive the way he's gone about it. He just didn't stop, we were questioning who was going to bowl after tea and there was no surprise when he took his cap off and started up."
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Head was eventually dismissed by Wagner as he looked to score quick runs, and while he dealt with Wagner's short-pitched attack better than most of his teammates, there were a few times where he wasn't in control.
According to the 25-year-old, there are several factors as to why Wagner causes so many problems for opposing batsmen.
"He's an unbelievable athlete, and with the fields that they set, how consistent he is [bowling short] and his [varied] pace, I think that's what makes it difficult.
"He's got the effort ball that's on the money, with the other balls there are variations in pace off the wicket, and he's got the slower ball as well, so he's got a few tricks there.
"He's made it difficult for us over the two games, but I think the way we've been able to adapt to that from Perth was exceptional."
Wagner finished with 4-83 as he became the first New Zealander to take 40 wickets twice in a calendar year. He explained that his success comes from playing to his strengths, and being content to play a complementary role to the new ball duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
"I just want to keep contributing to the team – we've got two amazing bowlers in Tim and Trent who can swing it and seam it and do all that pretty stuff, they're world class in my opinion, and for me it's just doing whatever I can to complement it.
"I wish I was a bowler who could nip it both ways and hit the stumps all the time and do everything, but one of my strengths is to run in and bowl long spells. I keep working hard on my fitness and being able to do whatever the team needs for me on the day."
While his short-pitched bowling is his main threat, Wagner has added subtle variations to his game recently, including a knuckleball which has proved potent in small doses in recent tests.
"I've been playing a bit of domestic T20 and one-day cricket and you're always trying to work on different skills - bowling yorkers or change-ups and slower balls – so I felt to be more effective in that format I had to work on a good slower ball, and I felt that it was going to come in handy in test cricket too.
"It's something I've worked really hard on and it's coming out alright at the moment."