First Test: Australia Beats New Zealand By An Innings And 52 Runs At The Basin Reserve, Wellington

15/02/2016 12:25 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Australia’s Nathan Lyon, centre, surrounded by team mates after bowling New Zealand’s BJ Watling for 10 on the fourth day of the first International Cricket Test match at Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, Feb 15, 2016. (Ross Setford/SNPA via AP) NEW ZEALAND OUT

Drift. Drift is beautiful. Nobody talks enough about drift and when they do, it's always slow, boring stuff like continental drift or drifting off to sleep. But as Australia beat New Zealand this morning in the first Test at Basin Reserve, Wellington, drift had a lot to do with the Kiwis' demise.

We speak of the drift which Nathan Lyon imparted upon the ball as he bowled Kiwi 'keeper BJ Watling. This was one of those balls that emphasised how far Nathan Lyon has come, and why Cricket Australia refers to him as "GOAT", as in "Greatest Of All Time".

In the ball that dismissed Watling, Lyon drifted the ball across the batsman, then spun it back sharply off the pitch. The combination of atmospheric and terrestrial ball movement was too much for Watling, who for the record was named in one respected scribe's Test team of the year for 2015.

You can see a video of Lyon's effort here. And if you want another example of the dark art of spin bowling drift, look no further than Warney's so-called Ball of the Century in 1993.

See how the ball drifts from left to right from the viewer's perspective), before darting back of the pitch? Well Lyon did pretty close to the opposite of that on Monday. It was an absolute peach from the man from the "Cherry Capital" of Young in NSW.

Stonefruit matters aside, this was a dominant win by Australia who out-bowled and out-batted New Zealand. Granted, the Aussies were on the right side of the one of the worst umpiring decisions in recent memory, but the bottom line is that the New Zealand big guns failed to fire.

The second and final Test is in Christchurch and begins on Saturday.

And if you want to see one more beautiful cricket thing before you go back and do a little work, here's Peter Nevill taking an absolute screamer of a catch to dismiss Kiwi superbat Kane Williamson on Sunday.

Nevill only realised he had to dive to his left at the last second. Like the Lyon ball, the more you watch it, the better it gets.

"Our bowlers put the ball in the right areas and put the New Zealand batters under pressure," Australian captain Steve Smith said of the Kiwi collapse on day one.

"The colour of the wicket changed. It got whiter each day. We exploited the conditions well, hit good areas, and I thought we battled quite well with the bat."

Smith deserves much credit for ignoring the old "always bat when you win the toss" mantra, and electing to bowl in the first innings. Here's the match scorecard.

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