And the drinks break works for New Zealand.
With such firepower in the sheds Australia have the platform to go for their shots and convert all their patience. Smith shows exactly that intent – again playing in the V – forcing Ferguson to the long-off boundary off the back foot. But when Labuschagne tries to pull a slower ball from outside off all he can do is toe a simple catch to mid-on. A tame end to a hard-working innings that has set his side up nicely.
33rd over: Australia 127-2 (Smith 58, Labuschagne 51) Here we go – Williamson is forced to recall Trent Boult. Six overs 1/7 off the top, but what can he do with a set partnership? Not a lot to begin with as Labuschagne forces the ball through the covers to bring up his 50. Two dots follow courtesy of some skillful bowling, the first short, drawing a forehand smash from Smith, the second full and fast. A couple more dots follow with the bowler lucky to get away with a leg-side bouncer, before finishing off his work with a length delivery played into the field. If only New Zealand had a couple more Trent Boults to call on.
32nd over: Australia 124-2 (Smith 58, Labuschagne 48) Smith has scored heavily straight down the pitch and for the fourth time today he finds the rope in front of the sight-screen with a beautifully timed on-drive off Neesham. Things are beginning to look ominous for the Kiwis as this pair ease the run-rate through the gears.
31st over: Australia 117-2 (Smith 54, Labuschagne 45) Smith brings up his half-century with the first reckless full-blooded shot of the day, lofting Southee over long-on – but it wasn’t well-timed and spent a long time in the air before landing and trickling over the rope. It signals the intent now in Australia’s game and how this pair at the crease recognise their ascendancy. The runs continue to flow and the century partnership is ticked off with a leg glance fine of the boundary rider. This is blossoming into something special for Smith and Labuschagne.
30th over: Australia 106-2 (Smith 44, Labuschagne 45) As expected Ferguson is pulled out of the attack and Neesham returns, but it doesn’t stop the runs flowing from that end with Smith timing a classical on-drive with a high elbow for the most handsome four of the day so far. Both batters are nearing half-centuries with New Zealand now the side searching for answers after being in total control of the opening hour.
29th over: Australia 98-2 (Smith 38, Labuschagne 43) Santner’s nice little spell is ended by the recall of Tim Southee. Australia are ready for him, pressing forward in the crease and looking to assert themselves in the V. Six singles are the result with Smith and Labuschagne looking increasingly at ease. The match feels very much like it hinges on the ability of this partnership to cash in after all their hard work.
28th over: Australia 92-2 (Smith 35, Labuschagne 40) After 62 deliveries Labuschagne has a boundary! It was a guide through the gully that Ferguson thought might have been catchable behind square, but instead it’s the first four in ten overs. And of course, one brings two, with a controlled outside edge that uses Ferguson’s pace. There’s a brief interlude to check a half-hearted appeal at point for a shot that was clearly a bump ball.
Williamson might need to put Ferguson away until the tail. He has been the only bowler Australia have been able to score off so far.
27th over: Australia 84-2 (Smith 35, Labuschagne 32) Chance! Ish… Santner bowls a beautiful over full of changes of pace and flight that goes for three, and it concludes with a leading edge from Smith that squirts just out of reach of the bowler’s dive to his left.
26th over: Australia 81-2 (Smith 34, Labuschagne 30) Williamson recognises the need to shake things up a bit and he recalls Ferguson to the attack. Australia look comfortable working a trio of dots but then a speedy yorker focuses Smith’s attention. That’s followed up with a wider slower ball that Smith does well not to chase too hard.
25th over: Australia 78-2 (Smith 33, Labuschagne 27) Santner is much loopier this over and it suits his height and the slow bounce of this pitch. Smith adjusts well though, glancing a neat two through the gully region in an over worth five.
At the halfway point honours are probably even with this partnership restoring parity after the Black Caps made such a hot start.
24th over: Australia 73-2 (Smith 30, Labuschagne 26) Labuschagne works Neesham for two wide of mid-on for the first delivery in an age that’s neither a one nor a dot. Six from another over with little jeopardy. The TV boys are talking about the NRL – not for the first time today. It’s been that kind of afternoon.
23rd over: Australia 67-2 (Smith 28, Labuschagne 22) Santner curtails Mitchell’s brief spell and his returning over has more singles than a night of speed dating. By that, I mean five singles. Which would be a pretty small speed dating event. Does speed dating even exist still? I’m trying to entertain myself here because the cricket is soporific. Can they just bring Finch back out and give us some narrative?
22nd over: Australia 62-2 (Smith 25, Labuschagne 20) A rare loose shot with Smith failing to connect with a back of the length Neesham delivery that just nipped back off the seam. The all-rounder continues to plug away at that length for a return of five dots and a single.
The middle-overs of a dead rubber, out of season, at a faraway ground on pay TV. This is not the stuff dreams are made of.
21st over: Australia 61-2 (Smith 24, Labuschagne 20) Mitchell’s changes of pace make him difficult to line up, and his awkwardness is magnified when Latham stands up the stumps. Australia collect four singles.
20th over: Australia 57-2 (Smith 22, Labuschagne 18) Five singles and a dot in the kind of over that – if you were playing on a computer game – you would simulate to save time. Neesham is struggling with his length a little.
19th over: Australia 52-2 (Smith 20, Labuschagne 15) Williamson continues to shuffle his pack with Daryl Mitchell coming into the attack to deliver more right-arm over seam-up variations. Three singles, three dots, very middle-overs areas.
18th over: Australia 49-2 (Smith 19, Labuschagne 13) Williamson recognises Ferguson’s pace suits Australia and calls on Jimmy Neesham’s heavy seamers instead. He starts brightly, and almost has Smith a couple of times with the slower pace. The first was almost a c&b but Smith’s forearm interrupted an inside-edge onto pad that threatened to loop back down the pitch. Then an attempted cut turns into a dragged inside-edge. After four deliveries of frustration Smith releases the tension with a muscular straight drive for four. A terrific forcing shot that induces an error from Neesham, who errs wide of off stump, and Smith caresses a glorious cover drive for back-to-back boundaries. This partnership is starting to gather momentum.
17th over: Australia 41-2 (Smith 11, Labuschagne 13) Australia are finally playing conventional modern ODI cricket. Labuschagne slaps another wristy slog sweep for two, then cuts through point for a single. Santner responds by sliding one low that almost traps Smith leg before, but he jams his bat down in time. Another single completes the over, heralding a drinks break.
16th over: Australia 37-2 (Smith 10, Labuschagne 10) Ferguson tries to go up top but gets his line wrong and concedes a loopy leg-side wide. Labuschagne shows his timing is starting to emerge with a nice on-drive for two. Smith then waits on Ferguson to over-pitch outside off and crunches a square drive for four! A BOUNDARY! We now have as many boundaries as wickets. Not sure Ferguson is the right man for the job right now for New Zealand.
15th over: Australia 29-2 (Smith 6, Labuschagne 7) Santner continues and after Smith pushes a single Labuschagne unfurls a wristy sweep for a couple that forces the square-leg boundary rider to work for the first time all day. A single completes an over of positive abandon worth four runs.
14th over: Australia 25-2 (Smith 5, Labuschagne 4) Australia look happier against Ferguson’s rifle straight pace, but this pitch just seems impossible to time a stroke on. After three dots Labuschagne has an opportunity to pull but he only picks up two from a miss-timed hoick. Labuschagne moves to 4 (28) with Smith 5 (27).
It shouldn’t go unmentioned that Ferguson is top to toe in black – including his spikes, making him look like a cricketing ninja, or Garry Player, or Johnny Cash, or Lev Yashin, or a buff emo etc…
13th over: Australia 23-2 (Smith 5, Labuschagne 2) A double change from Williamson and it’s an early look at spin with Mitchell Santner rolling his left-arm over. From around the wicket he finds a good line and length from the outset, angling the ball into the pads of the right-handers trying to spin the ball away. Smith interrupts a couple of dots with a push to mid-off for a single, then Labuschagne repeats the trick. Another tight over for the tourists who are well on top early.
12th over: Australia 21-2 (Smith 4, Labuschagne 1) The first change of the day for NZ, and it’s the pace of Lockie Ferguson. The speedster begins with a rank leg-side wide but he finds his radar soon afterwards. Nonetheless, Australia are keen to feast on the extra pace, with Smith extending his arms to a couple of deliveries but with no timing. A nudge to the on-side sweeper rotates the strike and Labuschagne likewise tries to force the issue, but he can’t connect with any force and the innings remains in neutral.
11th over: Australia 19-2 (Smith 3, Labuschagne 1) Boult continues into his sixth over (and with figures of 1/7, why not?) and the maidens return. Boult’s form has been a major reason why Australia have struggled in all three Powerplays at the start of their innings this series. He is bowling beautifully again today, shaping the ball out and in, finding a perfect length every time. Labuschagne is focussed only on defence, especially wary of the one that arcs back towards where a gate may have been left open.
10th over: Australia 19-2 (Smith 3, Labuschagne 1) A run! Stop the presses! There’s a been a run in Cairns! After 23 scoreless deliveries Labuschagne nurdles a single off his pads to lubricate the scoreboard. The floodgates have opened out in the middle with Smith nudging a mighty two into the leg-side.
9th over: Australia 16-2 (Smith 1, Labuschagne 0) Three maidens in a row! Boult whistles a jaffa past the shoulder of Smith’s bat to begin the ninth over. Five more line and length dots follow as Australia’s first drop takes no chances against such accurate bowling. 21 balls without scoring now for Australia.
8th over: Australia 16-2 (Smith 1, Labuschagne 0) Consecutive maidens for New Zealand. The tally of deliveries without scoring rises to 15 as Southee keeps Labuschagne honest.
7th over: Australia 16-2 (Smith 1, Labuschagne 0) Trent Boult consolidates New Zealand’s position with a maiden over to Steve Smith.
Every Australian batter so far has looked uncertain at the crease, unsure whether to take the game on or use the pace of the ball to make runs. Smith is the latest to almost perish through such clouded thinking with an angled bat held limply outside off stump to Boult that is fortunate not to collect an edge. A similar shot later in the over catches the splice but is always heading down.
6th over: Australia 16-2 (Smith 1, Labuschagne 0) A disappointing end to Finch’s final ODI innings, but an excellent piece of bowling. Australia again making a meal of their start.
The Cairns crowd stands as one to applaud Aaron Finch as he walks from the crease for one final time in Australian ODI gold after being clean bowled through the gate by Tim Southee. The drive was optimistic but the ball seamed in, beating the inside edge and clattering the stumps.
5th over: Australia 14-1 (Finch 4, Smith 0) The ball just wasn’t there for that shot from Inglis, and it went from a miss-timed stoke to a wicket-taker courtesy of that little jag in to the right-hander off the pitch. Super bowling.
Inglis rotates the strike nicely with another glide to third-man, Finch then asserts himself, stepping out to meet Boult on the half-volley and forward pressing the ball for three through the covers. Boult is unperturbed, getting a slower ball to come back in a fraction off the pitch to Inglis, the opener repeats his strike-rotating glide but this time can only nick into Latham’s safe gloves.
4th over: Australia 10-0 (Inglis 9, Finch 1) Southee starts another over short and wide and this time Inglis does crack it away for four through point. Oh boy – the replay is not pretty for Glenn Philips. I say “through point” for four and that is almost literally what happened. Philips DROPS a regulation chance to his right hip that he picks up late and barely gets a fingertip to. Bad miss early on from the Black Caps.
Southee completes the over with a huge shout for LBW. Declined on-field but REVIEWED by Williamson. In real-time that looked and sounded like an inside-edge. Shows what I know, massive gap between bat and ball on the replay – but DRS saves Finch with the animation indicating the ball was tracking a few millimetres above the leg stump.
3rd over: Australia 5-0 (Inglis 4, Finch 1) Finch tips and runs into the on-side to get off the mark in his final innings. But it’s one of only two runs in the over as Boult settles into a beautiful line and length, shaping one back in that almost sneaks through Inglis’ gate, then slanting another across past the outside edge.
2nd over: Australia 3-0 (Inglis 3, Finch 0) Southee opens with old mate Boult, but he begins short and wide and it takes a great diving stop from point to prevent a boundary. Southee remains back of a length and Inglis is watchful until he flicks a couple away off his pads. Gentle loosening over from the big right-arm swing bowler.
1st over: Australia 1-0 (Inglis 1, Finch 0) Boult is on the money targeting the top of off for three deliveries, the third of which Inglis guides to third man to get the scoreboard ticking over. Boult then straightens to Finch, targeting the front pad, and almost has an immediate LBW shout. The line reverts back to the top of off and Finch is uncomfortable defending from the crease, then EDGING just short of the solitary slip. Excellent start from the Kiwi quick.
Trent Boult has the new ball. He’s charging in to hurl the ball over the wicket to the right-handed Josh Inglis…
Finch gets a big hug from former housemate Maxwell as he pops on his helmet and skips across the boundary rope for the final time in ODI cricket. As he nears the square the Black Caps are waiting in a guard of honour and Williamson steps out to shake his opposite number warmly by the hand.
Out strides Aaron Finch, leading the Australian XI onto the field for the final time in 50-over cricket. Both teams take the oval and stand by the boundary for a minute’s silence in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
It’s 30 degrees, bright and sunny in Cairns with a southerly breeze taking the edge off the sun’s intensity.
There was a bit of men’s international cricket overnight, and quite a lot happened, fast.
Here’s the big question facing Australia’s board in the coming days. I
s Smith worth the hassle that will accompany his appointment? I’d go for Maxy.
In other white ball news, a couple of Australians are in demand.
Kerry O’Keeffe nails it on Finch: “he played for his team and his team played for him.”
“Very comfortable,” says Finch about his decision to walk away from 50-over cricket. “It’s the right time for someone else to take the team in a new direction.”
Three changes for the visitors with Allen coming in for Guptill, Philips for Bracewell, and Ferguson for Henry.
Two changes for the hosts with Inglis replacing Warner and Green returning in place of Stoinis.
New Zealand: 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Tom Latham (wk), 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Glenn Philips, 7 Jimmy Neesham, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Lockie Ferguson, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Trent Boult
Australia: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Josh Inglis, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschange, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Cameron Green, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Sean Abbott, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Kane Williamson isn’t overly decisive with his call but he wants to see how the pitch plays before his side has a bat on it. Aaron Finch says he was glad to lose his final toss as skipper.
Hello everybody and welcome to live over-by-over coverage of the conclusion of the the Chappell-Hadlee series in Cairns. We’ll be underway at Cazalys Stadium around 2:20pm AEST/4:20pm NZST.
As far as marquee bilateral series go, this is one has been about as off broadway as you can get. Played out in the boondocks while there’s still frost in Victoria, isolated on pay TV and at the business end of the footy seasons. And the small matter of some other news dominating the front pages.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing this series was even underway, let alone all over bar the shouting with Australia two up with one to play.
But the deadest of dead rubbers was reanimated when Australia captain Aaron Finch announced he was retiring from One-day international cricket. If nothing else, today is an opportunity to salute a man who deserves his place towards the top end of Australian white-ball cricketers. He bludgeoned record-breaking scores from the top of the order, led with aplomb during a period of instability, and exuded an air of casual calm through his gum-chewing and easy smile. A fine servant.
If you have anything to add to today’s proceedings, you know the drill. Emails go here or tweet @JPHowcroft. Send me your fondest Finch memories and I’ll sprinkle them throughout the call.