James Pattinson bounced back from the disappointment of a no-ball dismissal in the first innings to snap up three New Zealand top-order batsmen © Getty Images
James Pattinson copped a “rocket” from coach Darren Lehmann for his costly no-ball transgression on the first day in Christchurch, but bounced back to snare three important wickets on day three. Pattinson had Brendon McCullum caught for 39 on day one but replays confirmed he had overstepped and McCullum was reprieved; he went on to blast the fastest century in Test history as New Zealand raced to 370.
It was far from the first such mistake from Pattinson this summer, after he twice thought he had the wicket of West Indian Carlos Brathwaite during the Boxing Day Test only to have no-balls retrospectively called. Before this Test, Pattinson said he “done a fair bit of work” on his tendency to overstep, which made it all the more frustrating for the Australians to see him err on what might have been a wicket-taking ball.
“The coach didn’t miss him after play on day one, and that’s probably putting it nicely,” Australia batsman Adam Voges said. “Look, he got a rocket and he’s come out and responded the way he did. So he probably didn’t disagree with anything the coach said after play that night but full credit to Patto for the way he’s bounced back and he was excellent today.
“It’s fantastic, he ran in really hard today, bowled aggressively and with good pace. He’s taken three wickets, he’s got great reward and he’s put us in a great spot. To come back from the disappointment of the no-ball in the first innings and to be able to produce that today is a terrific effort.”
That response consisted of 12 overs, five maidens and 3 for 29 (and no no-balls) on the third day at Hagley Oval, where he found enough pace and movement to trouble the New Zealand top order. New Zealand had started their second innings with a deficit of 135 and by stumps they were four wickets down and still 14 runs behind, meaning a huge partnership or two would be needed for them to fight back into the Test.
“We’ve definitely got a few players in the shed left to try and get a total for us,” New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling said. “It’s great that Kane [Williamson] is still out there and Corey [Anderson] is coming off a good first innings. We’re definitely backing what we’ve got to put a total on the board and however many that is, we’re just going to have to come out with the ball and try to win it.”
To do so, though, New Zealand will need to find some sort of weapon with the ball, be it conventional swing, reverse swing or seam movement, given they have no specialist spinner in this XI. So far in the Test they have struggled to move the ball as much as the Australians, and it took a remarkable display of sustained short-pitched bowling from Neil Wagner to eventually run through Australia’s batting order on day three.
Wagner picked up 6 for 106 and four of those batsmen – Joe Burns, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh and Voges himself – were out to pull shots caught from square leg to midwicket. Another short delivery accounted for Peter Nevill, who tried to ramp one over the slips, and Josh Hazlewood rounded out the tally with a more regulation edge to slip.
“It was a pretty special bowling performance by him [Wagner],” Watling said. “I think it was about 25 overs of good fast short-pitched bowling. He got us right back into a position where we can hopefully try and get ourselves into a position to win the game.
“He almost gets faster the deeper he goes into his spells. He’s done it for us on many occasions. Today he got his rewards. It was just a fantastic effort by him to do that for so long. For a fast bowler to do that for about 25 overs is a pretty special effort.”
Voges said it was frustrating to see wicket after wicket fall in such a way – including his own – but that it was a lesson learnt for the Australians.
“There’s six blokes there on the pull shot so it’s not smart cricket really for … four of us to play pull shots to those guys,” Voges said. “It wasn’t any secret about what he was trying to do and we need to be better at combating that. We just found fielders. It’s not like we hit the ball badly. We just found the fielders. So we need to be a little bit smarter with the way we do it but I think it’s a good lesson learnt.”
Still, the Australians were able to pass 500 for the second time in consecutive innings on this tour – not since they visited the Caribbean in 2003 have Australia made 500-plus totals twice in a Test series away from home. The centuries to Burns and Smith set them on the path to overhauling New Zealand’s 370, and Voges said it was pleasing to gain the upper hand after the hosts were in the stronger position.
“It’s probably the first time that we’ve been behind on day one and been able to fight our way back into the contest and then get some ascendancy,” he said. “From that point of view I think it’s really pleasing. Most of that credit needs to go to Joe and Steve. They were outstanding yesterday and the rest of us have been able to build on that.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo