New Zealand salvage a draw as Mitchell Johnson signs off
Australia 559-9 dec & 385-7 dec (Smith 138) drew with
New Zealand 624 & 104-2 (Taylor 36no)
Second Test, Perth, day five
Mitchell Johnson signed off on a wonderful career for Australia as New Zealand survived with a draw while chasing a stiff target of 312 runs on the fifth and final day of the second Test match in Perth.
The day started on an emotional note for Australia as Johnson, one of their finest bowlers, announced his retirement from international as well as first-class cricket.
It came as a shock to many considering Adelaide is about to host first ever day-night Test to conclude the series.
Australia resumed on 258 for two and five overs into the first session, Steven Smith (138) edged one to the wicket-keeper off Trent Boult (2-77).
Mitchell Marsh’s (1) short stay at the crease was brought to an end by Doug Bracewell (1-62), who trapped him lbw.
New Zealand bowled tight lines and Australia struggled to get going. The pressure paid dividends when Tim Southee (4-97) bowled a full delivery that struck Adam Voges (119) in front of the stumps to reduce Australia to 294 for five.
Johnson (29) then came out to bat for the last time in his career and with Peter Nevill (35) he added 61 runs for the sixth wicket and pushed the lead past 250. At the lunch interval, Australia were placed at 331 for five.
Southee picked up his third wicket when Johnson attempted a pull but edged it to the keeper instead and Australia slipped further when an away swinging delivery from Southee took Nevill’s edge, which was safely pouched by the keeper.
Mitchell Starc (28 not out) hit a six and a couple of boundaries, soon after which Smith called his team in with the declaration. Australia had scored 385 for seven in their second innings and it set New Zealand a target of 321 runs with a minimum of 48 overs left in the game.
Southee was the pick of the bowlers with four scalps to his name, Boult had two while Bracewell managed one.
Tom Latham (15) and Martin Guptill (17) started positively, hitting a couple of boundaries each by the fifth over.
In the ninth over of the innings, the skies opened up forcing the players off the field so to get ahead of the rain, the umpire’s called for an early tea.
However, the drizzle intensified into a steady downpour and the game was delayed by more than one hour.
A few minutes into the final session, Johnson (2-20) struck with the wicket of Latham, who top edged a delivery down to deep fine leg.
A couple of overs later, Johnson produced another of his famous bouncers which Guptill failed to fend, lobbing a catch to Joe Burns at short leg.
Kane Williamson (32 not out) and Ross Taylor (36 not out) came out with a positive mindset as the dark clouds gathered overhead once more. The duo added 60 runs for the third wicket in 13.1 overs.
With the light fading quickly, the umpires called off the day’s play just as Johnson was about to return for one final spell.
New Zealand managed to post 104 for two in the 28 overs they faced as the match ended in a draw.
Johnson was the only wicket-taker with two scalps. Taylor was named as the man of the match for his splendid knock of 290 runs in the first innings.
The final match of the series will be a day-night Test which will be played in Adelaide between 27th November and 1st December.
© Cricket World 2015