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'Team in transition' now a team on a mission

Cricket

Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges were all yet to nail down their spot in Australia’s Test side at the start of summer.

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Now they’re part of a top order rattling off records and runs with apparent ease.

A ‘team in transition’ was the phrase used to describe Steve Smith’s side in the lead-up to the first Test of 2015-16 at the Gabba.

There were many questions following the retirements of Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris.

Many focused on an untested top order and an expected reliance on Smith and vice-captain David Warner.

Instead Australia now have the sort of depth they could only wish for during Clarke’s reign.

Shaun Marsh’s omission late last year, after scoring 182 in Hobart, is a prime example.

The team delivered another in Christchurch during the second trans-Tasman Test.

Smith scored 138 but it was Burns who led a stellar fightback with his career-best 170 on day two.

Voges then batted through Monday’s morning session and hit 60, ensuring a first-innings lead of over 100.

The runs came after retiring Brendon McCullum dominated day one, rocketing New Zealand to a total of 370 in just 65.4 overs.

Voges, playing his 15th Test, can’t ever remember the side pulling off such a momentum swing.

“It’s probably the first time we’ve been behind on day one and been able to fight our way back into the contest and then get some ascendancy,” Voges said.

“It’s really pleasing [and] most of that credit has to go to Joe and to Steve. They were outstanding yesterday and the rest of us have been able to build on that.”

Voges’ Test batting average is now 94.78, although it temporarily soared above 100 once again.

Voges surpassed Don Bradman’s iconic mark of 99.94 during the first Test in Wellington, where he was finally dismissed for 239.

Voges lifted his average to 102.08 in Christchurch but the number fell when the 36-year-old was dismissed for 60 by Neil Wagner.

After 20 innings, Voges sits second on the all-time list of averages – comfortably ahead of Graeme Pollock (60.97).

-AAP

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