Christchurch: Australia re-established itself as the No one test cricket nation when it beat New Zealand by seven wickets on Wednesday, sweeping the series 2-0 and clouding commemorations of Brendon McCullum's last international match.
Joe Burns made 65 as the anchor of the innings and Steve Smith scored an unbeaten 53 as Australia reached its winning target of 201 four overs after lunch after resuming on the last day of the second test at 70-1.
Australia needed only a draw to win the two-match series and reclaim from India the top test ranking. Instead, it made its accession more emphatic by delivering a victory which followed its win by an innings and 52 runs in the first test.
Burns, who made 170 in the first innings, was out just before lunch as Smith claimed an extra 15 minutes in the first session in an effort to seal victory.
After batting conservatively for more than three hours, Burns was forced to go on the offensive and hit two consecutive fours before he was bowled by Trent Boult.
Usman Khawaja (45) was the only other wicket to fall Wednesday, caught by McCullum at slip from the bowling of Tim Southee. The catch was McCullum's 198th in tests, a record for a New Zealander.
The New Zealand captain retired after this match, ending his international career at 34 after playing 101 consecutive tests, 260 one-day internationals and 71 Twenty20 internationals.
McCullum said there was some sadness as he ended his 14-year career.
Speaking directly to his teammates, McCullum said "we've had some fun over the last two or three years, I reckon."
"We've achieved some pretty cool things and, hey, we've lost one or two games as well. But we've got our soul back ... and for the rest of my life I'll remember the time that we've had playing for New Zealand."
Australia had ensured by the end of the fourth day that McCullum's last match would end in defeat. It needed a further 131 on Wednesday and Burns and Khawaja took it steadily toward that total, adding 64 for the second wicket.
Khawaja fell with the total at 113-2, with 88 runs still needed, but Burns ensured Australia stayed on track for an emphatic win and batted with Smith to get the visitors within easy reach.
Smith completed his half century from 41 balls and was at the crease when Voges drove Boult for four for the winning runs.
"We want to win a lot more away from home and I think that was a good start for us," Smith said before turning his attention to his Kiwi counterpart. "I think Brendon has been an absolutely inspirational cricketer and leader for New Zealand. Any captain wants to change the way your team plays for the better and Brendon has certainly done that."
McCullum left a mark on his final match by scoring the fastest century in the history of test cricket, from 54 balls, during New Zealand's first innings of 370. But he saw his team conceded a 135-run first innings lead when Australia replied with 505, including centuries to Burns and Smith.
McCullum was then out for 25 in his 176th and final innings in tests and New Zealand relied on Kane Williamson (97) and Matt Henry (66) to reach 335 and to set Australia a chase for 201 with four full sessions remaining.
Australia outplayed New Zealand in all departments throughout the series, ending its run of form at home: until the first test, New Zealand hadn't been beaten in a test match in New Zealand since 2012.
McCullum's century in Christchurch was the only century by a New Zealand batsman in its four innings in the series. Kane Williamson made 97 in New Zealand's second innings in the second test but he, along with Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls had only one half century in four innings.
By comparison Voges (239 and 60), Burns (170 and 65), Khawaja (140) and Smith (138, 71 and 53) all made substantial scores for Australia.
McCullum was also let down in his final series by his bowlers who couldn't replicate the form of their Australia counterparts, though the tourists' attack was depleted.
Boult took only five wickets in the series and Southee took three, while for Australia Josh Hazlewood had 10 at 30 and Jackson Bird eight at 28.
Australia continues to gel as a team under new captain Smith, winning its last three test series against New Zealand, home and away, and the West Indies this southern summer.
First Published On : Feb 24, 2016 15:43 IST