Paine hails Aussie collective after thumping New Zealand

By Sports Desk December 29, 2019

Australia captain Tim Paine hailed the collective contributions of his batting line-up after a crushing 247-run win over New Zealand in Melbourne.

The hosts wrapped up a series-clinching victory with a game to spare in the three-match rubber after Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) impressed with the ball to dismiss the Black Caps for 240 in their second innings – makeshift opener Tom Blundell's superb 121 sounding the lone note of day-four defiance.

By contrast, Australia's first-innings centurion and man of the match Travis Head was backed up by fifties from Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Paine.

Further handy contributions from David Warner and Matthew Wade set up a total of 467 – establishing a dominant position Australia never relinquished.

"I thought the way we went about this Test from the moment we lost the toss was outstanding," Paine said at the post-match presentation.

"I thought our batters applied themselves superbly on day one and made it easy for Trav and I on the second day to set up a big total.

"Then I thought our bowlers, led by Pat Cummins in the first innings, were superb. James Pattinson started the rot today.

"We're sharing the load. We can't rely on too few and good teams have guys contributing throughout the list and we're starting to do that."

Australia were allowed to post their imposing total by Kane Williamson electing to field after winning the toss, against a backdrop of questionable recent surfaces at the MCG.

"I felt like there was enough in the surface to bowl first and it was obviously very important for us to be on top of our game," said Williamson, who was pinned lbw for nought by Pattinson in the second innings, having been dismissed by the same bowler for nine first time around.

"The surface did offer some sideways movement and swing but credit to Australia for getting through that first session and putting 400 on the board.

"They've got a fantastic attack with pace and bounce but their accuracy stood apart and they did seem to get more out of that surface. All round from our perspective we need to be better in all departments.

"We do need to be better come Sydney. We haven't been at our best but it is important that we try and learn really quickly and improve in all areas."

The final Test of the series begins at the SCG on Thursday next week.

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