It's been a long time coming.

New Zealand are well positioned for a famous cricket test series victory over Australia, who are surrounded by distractions and seem to lack the usual Aussie chutzpah.

This is a moment to be seized by Brendon McCullum's New Zealand, and if they don't win the two-test stoush there should be deep disappointment because they are in the box seat for once.

The Aussies seem out of sync. Australia's chief selector Rod Marsh was short on bullish spirit when he moaned about the schedule, their boyish captain Steve Smith is in a run drought, they are seriously down on scary fast bowlers, the New Zealanders' tails are up after the Chappell-Hadlee victory (we won't mention a certain Australian player's tail at this point), and in case you missed it, they are down on really scary fast bowlers.


What a cracking few days of drama, which sets the test series up brilliantly. A new agreement promises a Chappell-Hadlee series every season, along with a couple of test series, over the next seven years or so. With ODIs enjoying a renaissance, it's a future to cherish although a few more tests would be nice.

Cricket's movers and shakers - Australia, England, India - take note, and please give the Black Caps more of a chance. This is a watershed moment, to kick-start an enduring transtasman cricket tradition and put an end to the insulting treatment of our national side. It's been six years since Australia toured here, and we get other raw deals like the shortened test series in England last year.

This tour is also a reminder of what real international sports tours provide. Rivalries and storylines develop, mad controversies spring out of the ground. It's been brilliant stuff and the Aussie x-factor can't be overlooked. Put it this way - there have been more interesting stories over the past few days than in the last 300 Sri Lankan tours.

In contrast, the football codes have gone out of their way not to provide this sort of wonderful theatre. The great rugby tours are mainly down the tubes. International league is down the tubes full stop. As for the All Whites...does anyone remember them? But cricket is coming through loud and clear, and hopefully the ICC hijackers are listening.


I am gobsmacked by the Usman Khawaja affair, in which he fondled the derriere of teammate Adam Zampa during the anthem playing in Wellington. It's what came next which is staggering.

Khawaja said he "didn't realise there were cameras filming from behind". What planet is he on? Usman, it's 2016. There are cameras everywhere, and especially in the middle of an international sports arena.