All the action as the Black Caps play Australia in the third and final test - their first match at the Sydney Cricket Ground since 1985.


Premium gold

By Niall Anderson in Sydney

What new is there to say about this Black Caps team?

After one day of promise, day three of the third test against Australia provided a forlorn and familiar sight as all of their problems returned. Failing to bat out all three sessions, it made for a grim stat - the 11th consecutive day where the Black Caps' bowlers have had to trudge out onto the park.

Advertisement

READ MORE:
From bodysurfing to a shock test debut: How Black Cap's dream came true
Black Caps v Australia: How Kiwi bowler made history
The two photos that expose Black Caps disaster
Live: Rate the Black Caps in the final test

Dismissed for 251 – 203 runs short of Australia's first innings total - the Black Caps then allowed Australia to cruise through to stumps at 40-0, in total control once again, and leaving a miracle required for the Black Caps to salvage even a draw at the SCG.

For other sides, perhaps it wouldn't be a miracle. After all, once Australia extend their advantage to a declarable target, there's likely only be to be a touch over four sessions remaining in the test, and the possibility of a few showers falling.

But for a team which has never looked like scoring a competitive total in their five innings on tour, the prospect of a brilliant rearguard seems as fanciful as the pre-series predictions of a close contest.

Their best chance to deliver on that expectation came today, when they resumed at 63-0 after Tom Latham and Tom Blundell had looked remarkably solid in a 29-over stint the night before.

That hope lingered slightly into the morning in Sydney, as although Blundell got himself in a muddle and was bowled by Nathan Lyon, the re-called Jeet Raval combined with Latham to add 49 for the second wicket, moving through to 117-1.

In some ways, the Black Caps had an excuse for what followed. Their team has been decimated by injury and illness, and the likes of Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls would have undoubtedly boosted their batting resolve.

But this time, it wasn't their replacements who struggled, it was the incumbents. Raval, under the weather and out of form, exceeded all expectations to make 31, while debutant Glenn Phillips survived two dropped catches and a dismissal off a no-ball to top score with 52. Todd Astle, also one of the changes from the second test defeat in Melbourne, chipped in with a handy unbeaten 25.

Advertisement

Instead, the men who the Black Caps were counting on failed to deliver. Latham had batted well to get through to 49, but the skipper couldn't convert his start, spooning a limp drive to mid-on. Ross Taylor was trapped lbw for 22, BJ Watling chopped on for nine, and Colin de Grandhomme (20) was inexcusably run out going for a ridiculous second run.

Thanks to their overnight display and the efforts of the fill-ins, the Black Caps did manage to make Australia take the second new ball for first time all series, but it was a remarkably minor victory, and for the third straight time, they failed to reach the follow-on.

Lyon was the star, finding turn and bounce to end with 5-68, and when Australia opted to bat, once again the pitch that looked potent when Australia were bowling suddenly lacked the same life when the Black Caps bowlers began, as David Warner and Joe Burns looked largely untroubled before stumps.

It was another reflection of the massive gulf in this series, and the sad reality is that the Black Caps' best chance of avoiding a 3-0 sweep comes not from their own talent, but from the weather forecast.