Cricket: Doug Bracewell Steers New Zealand to Historic Win; Australia Chokes

Jeff CheshireAnalyst IIDecember 12, 2011

New Zealand celebrates after one of Doug Bracewell's six wickets.
New Zealand celebrates after one of Doug Bracewell's six wickets.Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

A great Australian choke and a spell of brilliant bowling from Doug Bracewell has seen New Zealand win their first test against their great rivals since the 1992/93 season.

Bracewell took 6/40 as he tore through the Australian middle order en route to a seven-run victory. Among scalps were key batsmen Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey.

Only David Warner was able to get going for the Australians, scoring an unbeaten 123 in a classy display of batting which almost snatched an unlikely victory for the hosts.

Despite this, it was Australia who entered the day in the dominant position, requiring 169 runs to win with all their wickets still in hand. Add to this two days to go and an ever-drying pitch and it seemed that Australia would knock off the runs no problem.

Even when Philip Hughes was dismissed early for 20, Australia remained in the box seat as David Warner and Usman Khawaja built a solid partnership that looked like it was steering Australia close to the target.

When Khawaja was dispatched by Trent Boult, the New Zealanders began to lift but it was the wicket of Ricky Ponting half an hour later that really swung the momentum.

From here, Bracewell stepped up, taking the key wickets of Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey in consecutive balls, both for ducks.

What had looked like a comfortable situation heading into lunch all of a sudden looked more problematic for Australia and New Zealand ended the morning session right back in the game.

The game remained Australia's for the taking, but two quick wickets after lunch to Tim Southee had Australia reeling, and when Bracewell added another, all of a sudden Australia required 42 runs to win with just one wicket remaining.

But if New Zealanders know one thing, it's to never count out an Aussie.

And so it happened, as David Warner and Nathan Lyon dug deep to take Australia oh-so-close. They had their fair share of luck, with two referral decisions in their favour, but ultimately they couldn't last, with Bracewell doing the honours, taking the final wicket with Australia seven runs shy of their target.

The win is historic for New Zealand, marking their first win in almost 20 years over their old foe, and the first since 1985/86 on Australian soil. To put this into perspective, this 85/86 New Zealand team included Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe and current coach John Wright.

From a New Zealand perspective, let's hope it's not so long until the next win!