NZ vs Aus, 2nd Test, 2023-24 – Pat Cummins: Someone stood up and made themselves a matchwinner

Pat Cummins has praised the ability of different players in the Australia side to stand up when the team needed it after they conjured a remarkable run chase in New Zealand to take the series 2-0.
Australia were in huge trouble on the third evening at 34 for 4 chasing 279 and then at 80 for 5 early on the fourth morning when Travis Head departed. However, Mitchell Marsh – who had been given a life the ball before Head’s wicket – and the under-pressure Alex Carey put together a match-changing stand of 140 in 29 overs.
Carey, whose position in the side was coming under increased scrutiny after a run of poor strokes, remained unbeaten to the end with 98 after Ben Sears had again rattled the chase with two wickets in two balls.

“Think the story of this series was in key moments one guy stood up, we didn’t necessarily play the complete game, but in those pivotal moments someone stood up and made themselves a matchwinner,” Cummins, who struck a vital 32 not out, said. “[We] keep finding ways to win, it’s a pretty awesome squad.”

He added that the tempo Marsh and Carey were able to bat at was vital in putting the pressure back on New Zealand’s bowlers. It also meant the second new ball wouldn’t be a factor.

“We’ve been on the other side of it plenty of times and if the scoreboard’s not moving you feel in the game, but if they are chipping away it seems like it’s all happening pretty quickly,” he said. “That was goal today, be busy, keep the run rate ticking over and bit by bit getting closer.”

“[It was] pretty tense,” he added. “Pretty nervous watching for the last couple of hours, everyone trying to keep themselves busy then looking up at the board. Amazing win.”

The victory meant Australia finished with six Test wins and one defeat in the season having beaten Pakistan 3-0 and drawn 1-1 with West Indies. They now have a long break from Test cricket before facing India at home in November.

New Zealand captain Tim Southee was proud of the way his team fought but was left regretting seeing a golden chance of a first win at home against Australia in 31 years slip away.

“The partnership with Mitch Marsh and Alex Carey sort of broke the back of our attack, but then a great little exciting end to the day,” he said. “When you are playing the No. 1 side in the world you need to go that little bit further. But a great Test match…ebbed and flowed throughout the whole match.”

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