Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner scored the runs - while Nathan Lyon nailed a 10-wicket haul.
Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner scored the runs - while Nathan Lyon nailed a 10-wicket haul.

‘Best since Ponting’: exclamation point on huge summer

THE summer is over, and Australia have completed their second dominant series sweep - adding New Zealand's scalp to that of Pakistan.

And it was the familiar face of Marnus Labushagne leading the way, as he's done all summer, with another run-scoring masterclass.

But he wasn't alone in feasting on another substandard performance by Australia's trans-Tasman rivals.

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See below for how we've rated each player's performance in the Sydney Test.

David Warner - 8

A first century of the series arrived on one of his favourite batting tracks, opening his shoulders to punish the tourists and usher in a swift kill. After a couple of unconvincing displays in Melbourne and Perth by his own high standards, Warner was back to his aggressive, free-scoring best in Sydney.

Joe Burns - 6.5

Denied the truly big score that would silence his persistent band of critics, Burns did nonetheless selflessly get things moving on the morning of day four when he and David Warner took the attack to the bowlers to help propel Australia to a declaration total. His breezy 40, including a couple of maximums, belied any nervousness over his place in the side.

Marnus Labuschagne - 9

Australia's best No.3 since Ricky Ponting placed an exclamation mark at the end of The Summer of Marnus with a maiden Test double ton. His desire to keep batting and keep piling on the runs was insatiable in this match, just as it has been throughout the series against Pakistan and New Zealand. A star is born.

Steve Smith - 7

Smith was filthy with himself after falling for 'just' 63 in his sole batting innings, and it was a loose shot from the former skipper when he was well set. However, his work had been done as part of a century partnership with Marnus Labuschagne which laid the foundation for victory.

Matthew Wade - 2

Wade's position in the side will come under further scrutiny after his latest disappointing contribution and, specifically, the manner of his dismissal. Starting day two tasked with building on Australia's already healthy position, he tried an expansive sweep first over and made a right royal mess of it, wasting a gilt-edged chance to put a score on.

Matthew Wade’s position in the team is sure to come under scrutiny after a lean summer. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Matthew Wade’s position in the team is sure to come under scrutiny after a lean summer. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Travis Head - 3

Another Test that largely passed Head by, not being called on to bat in Australia's second innings, after a poor shot, edging behind trying to cut Henry, saw him contribute just 10 to the cause in the first. Mitigation comes in the fact that he was asked to try and move the game on, coming in when Australia were already well in charge, but still a disappointing effort.

James Pattinson - 4.5

On a pitch that was a serious challenge for all the fast bowlers, Pattinson found the going the toughest of all, going wicketless for the match despite a wonder catch late on day four. After a rampaging performance in front of his home fans in Victoria, he failed to make the case to stay in the first choice XI once Josh Hazlewood is available again.

Pat Cummins produced an absolute gem to dismiss Ross Taylor. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Pat Cummins produced an absolute gem to dismiss Ross Taylor. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Pat Cummins - 8

Three first-innings wickets on a flat deck was just reward for a performance that was at first explosive and later one of pressure building economy. A constant menace to the New Zealand batsman, he barely bowled a bad ball all Test.

Mitchell Starc - 7

Four wickets at a nudge over 20 continued Starc's fine Test summer, the removal of both Kiwi openers in the second innings kickstarting the push for victory and reminding everyone he is not solely a menace to sides' tails.

Nathan Lyon - 9

A first Test five-for at the SCG tin the first innings took Lyon past Sir Ian Botham on the all-time wicket-taking list. Then a second wrapped up the match. On a deck that didn't help the quicks he underlined his quality and value to the side when it mattered. Literally gave blood for the cause, too, playing on after ripping most of a thumb nail off.

News Corp Australia

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