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  Justin Langer's Postcards
MONDAY 27 March 2000
Day four second test, Basin Reserve, Wellington

When it really counts this Australian team has the ability to step up to a higher level and intimidate the opposition through pure pressure and intensity. After we let the New Zealanders off the hook in the last hour yesterday afternoon a more disciplined approach was required in the first hour this morning. This in mind, surprise, surprise, Tugga threw the ball to superstar McGrath and our wily and experienced off-spinner Colin Miller to apply the early brakes on New Zealand, particularly Chris Cairns.

The pressure out in the middle was fierce. McGrath was brilliant and Funky Miller as tight as a guitar string as we kept Cairns and Fleming to very few runs in the first few overs. It was sheer intimidation in that neither batsman could score a run on either side of the wicket. After Cairns' Botham-like onslaught in the last session yesterday New Zealand probably gave themselves a chance in this Test match. That ambition was short-lived. As has become a trademark of this team, the early pressure and subsequent wickets of Cairns and Fleming quickly destroyed our opposition's hopes.

Photograph courtesy of Hamish Blair/AllSport Thanks to Simon Doull we were probably chasing 50 more runs than we were expecting but in the end of the day we knew the pitch was still flat and the outfield fast, making any target achievable. After our historic victory in Hobart earlier this summer we have very few fears of any situation and this was proven once again by our clinical run-chase this afternoon. With Daniel Vetorri side-lined by a back injury, and the Kiwis hampered by a dwindling confidence, it was great to finish this Test in four days and stamp our authority on this series.

Like usual the after-match celebration was a comedy. Loud music, photographs, cold beer, sprayed champagne and one of the longest renditions of 'Underneath the Southern Cross ...' ever. Taking over in the absence of Ricky Ponting, our patriotic, baggy green-loving, captain asked every player to get up on the table, one by one, and describe their favourite memory of the last nine Test victories. At the end of each player's speech one verse of our song was roared through the changing room. With John Buchanan, our managers Steve Bernard and Mike Walsh, Patty Farhart and Dave Misson also sharing their memories, 19 verses of the song were sang, or more appropriately screamed. It was a blast; a mixture of inspiration, humour and patriotic pride that won't be forgotten for a long time.

Voices hoarse but chests puffed out we left the Basin Reserve knowing that whatever happens this record can never be taken away from us. Sure it may be broken one day but the feat of winning nine consecutive Tests is an achievement of which we are very proud. Playing in a team like this is a privilege. It is not only a dream team for raw talent and skill but more appropriately it is a dream team of characters and character. Experience, know how, determination, perseverance, pride, wisdom and respect cannot be bought on a shelf. That is why this team is so special because it has an awesome blend of cricketing skill and those characteristics that cannot be bought but can be earned as a part of being an Australian cricket player with a baggy green cap on your head.

From Wellington, JL

  More Postcards
SATURDAY 25 March 2000
Day two second test, Basin Reserve, Wellington

FRIDAY 24 March 2000
Day one second test, Basin Reserve, Wellington