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Aussies ready for bodyline with Black Caps

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15th December, 2019
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Australia expect the rest of the New Zealand series to resemble Bodyline after the Black Caps peppered them with a barrage of short-pitch bowling in Perth.

New Zealand regularly set fielders with legside catchers both behind the wicket and for the pull shot as they persisted with bouncers with great success.

Matthew Wade was regularly struck on the body by Neil Wagner leaving him with a sore finger and welting on his arm, while Pat Cummins also struck Black Cap BJ Watling on the helmet.

All of Australia’s top six fell to short balls in the second innings, as David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Wade were all caught pulling in the 296-run win.

“It was great theatre, wasn’t it?,” captain Tim Paine said.

“We were just having a laugh before when we were bowling at their tail, we think it’s going to be a bit of bodyline for the a lot of the series.

“There’s been a lot of talk about it, but regardless of the pace of the two teams they are very, very skilled at executing that ball and they set great fields for it.

“It’s a completely different challenge from what you get from other teams.”

Paine stressed the Perth Test was played in good spirits, unlike the famous 1932-33 Ashes series where England captain Douglas Jardine introduced the famous Bodyline tactic.

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The Aussies also took to bowling short late in the match, but were nowhere near as sustained with it as the Black Caps and had more orthodox fields set

The challenging aspect is that the average of 130km/h New Zealand’s quicks bowl at make it tempting to play at, rather than duck out of the way of something faster.

“We know we need to get a little bit better at it, but having said that we thought we played really well,” Paine said.

“Some guys are going to take it on, and continue to take it on, other guys are going to wear it.

“Wadey’s pretty happy to wear them, Marnus is going to play it I’d imagine.

“I know a lot of our boys have spoken about where their fields are, and if they get this certain field they’re happy to play it.

“If the field’s this way, they’re gonna duck them.”

It’s questionable if the tactic will be as effective in Melbourne and Sydney, where the pitches are expected to be slower and the bounce more consistent.

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“It was a tactic on a pitch like this when it did age and there were cracks and the bounce become a little bit more variable then it proved to be effective,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said.

“It’s not for everywhere.

“It’s also something that the likes of Neil Wagner have been very successful doing for us in his role for a long period of time.”