Adam Voges was Australia’s last man to fall (finally), but not before he had added 614 runs from the last time he was dismissed in a Test © AFP
When Adam Voges drove a return catch to Mark Craig on the third day at the Basin Reserve, he was out for 239. In another way, he was out for 614, for that was the amount of runs Voges had scored in Test cricket between dismissals. In the dim, dark ages of day-night Test cricket at the Adelaide Oval, Voges had edged Trent Boult to second slip. From then on, it took another 815 balls and 1115 minutes of batting before Voges would again go out.
Extend it to first-class cricket, and he scored 763 runs from 1422 balls between times when a bowler got him out – he was dismissed for 149 in the Sheffield Shield match in Lincoln this month, but it took a run-out to do it. They are extraordinary figures, and his Test success against West Indies and New Zealand pushed his average up over 100 during his double-century in Wellington, though it dropped down to the sub-Bradman figure of 97.46 when Craig got him.
“I’m probably happy that I’m out now and it’s gone back under,” Voges said. “I can just get on with playing cricket, I guess. The boys had a bit of fun taking the mickey out of me in the change-rooms but it’s all good. It [the average] was never going to stay there, it won’t stay there, I know that. So it was always going to happen at some stage.”
Of course that was true, but what is equally obvious is that Voges, at the age of 36, is in the form of his life. In the past two years, nobody in the world has come close to the 3687 runs and 14 centuries that Voges has scored in first-class cricket, and his promotion to Test ranks has done nothing to slow his progress.
“I think that I’m giving myself every chance to get in each time I bat and then when I do get in I’m hungry to score runs and score big runs,” he said. “I try and keep it pretty simple. I really enjoyed my partnership with Usman [Khawaja] the other day, he’s batting brilliantly. He’s in complete control of his game so that made life a lot easier for me.”
Life in this match was also made easier for Voges by the incorrect no-ball call from umpire Richard Illingworth that resulted in him being reprieved in the last over of the first day. On 7, Voges shouldered arms to a ball from Doug Bracewell and looked back to see his off stump knocked back, but when he realised that Illingworth had called no-ball he refocused for the next day.
“I turned around, it was a bad leave, saw the stumps, went to walk off and then saw the arm out. A little bit of luck,” Voges said. “I approached the [next] day that I was going to go pretty hard, you don’t get second chances too often so I’m gonna try and take the game on a little bit here.
“As it turned out, New Zealand bowled really well and I couldn’t do it. I had to bide my time and think I only scored 30 and had to be a little bit more patient. Once I did the hard yards it did become a little bit easier but the plan to go out and take the game on didn’t quite eventuate.”
It took Voges 130 deliveries to register his half-century and 203 balls to bring up his hundred, as he ground down the New Zealand bowlers and attacked them when the chance arose. Voges said the ability to assess how bowlers were trying to dismiss him had come with age, and he conceded he would probably not have been capable of such an innings earlier in his career.
“No doubt it comes with time,” Voges said. “It comes with a lot of hard work as well. And understanding your game. It comes with confidence as well, being able to trust your ability, trust your defence and then being able to attack when the opportunity presents.”
Voges’ 239 and the 140 from Khawaja set up an enormous lead for Australia after they had dismissed New Zealand for 183 in the first innings, and by stumps on day three Australia’s control of the match had only strengthened. New Zealand were four down in their second innings and were still 201 runs from making Australia bat again.
There was a concern for the Australians, though, with fast bowler Peter Siddle not bowling after tea and spending most of the final session off the field dealing with a back problem. Siddle also struggled with back spasms during the day-night Test against New Zealand in Adelaide in November, and was hampered by an ankle injury during the Boxing Day Test against West Indies.
“It’s a bit of a back spasm and they’re never nice,” Voges said. “We’ve got some good medicos who will look after him tonight and we’re hopeful he’ll be out there tomorrow. He’s got very good skills with the reverse-swinging ball so hopefully we’ll see him out there tomorrow.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo