Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, cricket news 2024, video, highlights


Australia was 5-80 when Alex Carey walked out to bat at Hagley Oval on Monday morning, needing a further 199 runs to avoid a historic loss to New Zealand.

Carey, Australia’s last recognised batter, had only passed fifty twice in his previous 18 Test innings, registering prior scores of 10, 3 and 14 against the Black Caps.

The South Australian was under mounting pressure to keep his spot in the Test side, with soft dismissals and dropped catches amplifying the spotlight.

However, doubts over whether Carey would don the gloves during next summer’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy have been quash following an unbeaten 98 that steered Australia towards an unlikely three-wicket victory.

The 32-year-old, who received player of the match honours for the first time in his Test career, combined with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh for a 140-run partnership before joining forces with captain Pat Cummins to knock off the final 61 runs.

It was the greatest Test innings by an Australian wicketkeeper in a generation, with Carey avoiding months of speculation about his Test future ahead of a winter season dominated by white-ball cricket.

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‘I had no idea he was on 98’ | 00:34

Over the past 12 months, Carey has drawn criticism for his decision-making at the crease, throwing his wicket away with needlessly reckless shots. More than anything, the manner in which he departed has drawn the ire of cricket traditionalists, notably his sweeping obsession in the subcontinent.

During last week’s Wellington Test, the left-hander was twice caught in the cover region after flashing at wide deliveries, while his first-innings dismissal at Hagley Oval was particularly careless, toe-ending an ill-judged sweep shot towards mid-wicket.

However, Carey’s heroic knock on day four was distinguishable for its composure and calmness. With the exception of one reverse sweep while facing Black Caps spinner Glenn Phillips, he shelved the funky scoring options and trusted his defence against New Zealand’s pace attack.

After a testing first hour, where several deliveries seamed past the outside edge, Carey took control of proceedings as the lunch break approached, scoring in all corners of the picturesque venue.

Speaking to reporters in the post-match press conference, Carey confessed mistakes and poor choices had often brought about his undoing in the middle, resulting in some regrettable dismissals.

“You can look at it like that,” Carey said.

“It’s probably the way I play a little bit. At times I try to create a little bit too much.

“But I thought today I kept to a really solid plan. Read the conditions, read the bowlers and I guess the partnership as well.”

NZ v AUS: Test 2, Day 4 Highlights | 08:19

Despite dropping a regulation catch during New Zealand’s second innings in Christchurch, Carey finished the Test with ten dismissals to equal the national record set by Australian legend Adam Gilchrist in 2000.

He has totalled 133 dismissals in 32 matches, with only two wicketkeepers in Test history surpassing that tally at the same point in their careers — Australian predecessor Tim Paine and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock.

“I think his glovework’s been basically flawless since he started,” Cummins told reporters on Monday afternoon.

“That’s obviously pretty much the main role as a keeper in the side and we’ve seen it over many years. In ODI cricket, state cricket recently, and some key Test innings Kez is well and truly a matchwinner with his batting as well.

“I think 98, it’s an away series, scoring runs away is always harder than home, is another nod to the pretty special career that Kez is carving out for himself.”

Career defining’: Carey comes up clutch | 03:40

Carey’s Test batting average has slowly dipped since the infamous stumping of England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow during last year’s Lord’s Ashes Test, but he has denied any correlation.

The gloveman’s decline in form coincided with Western Australia’s Josh Inglis pushing him out of the ODI team, along with last week’s match-winning century in the Sheffield Shield. However, Carey insisted his confidence never wavered despite the increased pressure of having Inglis breathing down his neck.

Carey’s Test batting average currently sits at 31.88, which ranks fourth among Australian wicketkeepers and only marginally behind Brad Haddin in second place with 32.98.

Meanwhile, the southpaw’s average comfortably surpasses a plethora of rival keeper, including South Africa’s Kyle Verreynne (28.05), England’s Ben Foakes (28.03), West Indies’ Joshua Da Silva (27.35) and Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella (22.42).

Highest Test batting average among Australian wicketkeepers

47.60 — Adam Gilchrist

32.98 — Brad Haddin

32.63 — Tim Paine

31.88 — Alex Carey

29.12 — Wayne Phillips

Carey has not only silenced his doubters, but proven he’s a matchwinner capable of standing up for the national side when duty calls.

It also means this winter he can focus on family rather than his Test career.

“Now it probably gets a little bit more stressful for me,” Carey laughed.

“I have to do some school drop-offs, and changing the nappies.”


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