Australia beat New Zealand 2-0 in the three-Test series that was expected to be closely fought. And, while New Zealand did compete hard in the last two Tests, Aussies proved to be the superior team, and overpowered the Kiwis in the end. With the series coming to an end, we look back at the top performers across the three Tests, with both bat and ball.
David Warner: With the bat in hand, the dashing left-handed opener lorded over the New Zealand bowling. His first three knocks in the series were 163, 116 and 253 – even spectacular numbers would be an understatement here. Warner completely decimated the New Zealanders during this phase of the series. He struggled in the second half, failing to reach even 50 in his last three knocks. But, by then he had done enough to secure the man of the series. Warner finished the series with 592 runs at a Bradman-esque average of just under 99. He also scored his runs at a highly impressive strike rate of 85.42.
Kane Williamson: When it came to consistency, only Williamson came close to Warner. The youngster once again demonstrated why he is rated so highly in New Zealand circles. Williamson scored 428 runs at an average of 85.60 with two hundreds and a fifty at a strike rate of 66.66. Williamson registered scores of 140 and 59 in a losing cause at Brisbane, and made 166 at Perth. He failed at Adelaide in a low-scoring encounter though, and New Zealand suffered heavily considering their dependence on Williamson.
Usman Khawaja: His series was cut short due to injury, but before that Khawaja had managed to make an astounding return to Test cricket, a far cry from the mediocre performances earlier in his career, which led to his axing. In his first innings on comeback, the left-hander blasted a career best score of 174 at Brisbane. In the second Test at Perth as well, he chipped in with 121, before injury played spoilsport, and brought an abrupt end to his comeback.
Ross Taylor: It would be wrong to say that Taylor had a great series. But, when a batsman smashed 290 in one innings, it is difficult not to include him among the best performers while reviewing the series. And so is the case with Taylor, who oscillated between the ordinary and the extraordinary during the course of the series. After managing just 0 and 26 at Brisbane, Taylor silenced his critics with that marathon knock at Perth. However, he again failed at Adelaide, getting out after making starts – 21 and 32. Taylor will return with mixed emotions from the series.
Mitchell Starc: In a series dominated by batsmen, Starc stood out. The left-arm pacer finished with 13 wickets at an average of 23.23, with best bowling figures of 4 for 57 at Brisbane. He claimed four wickets at Perth as well, and finished the series playing a good supporting role to Josh Hazlewood, claiming 3 for 24 in the first innings at Adelaide.
--By A Cricket Analyst