Just when it looked like New Zealand’s tour of Australia couldn’t get any more demoralising, they produced what might be a contender for worst dropped catch of the year.
Already ravaged by illness and injury and staring down the barrel of a 3-0 series whitewash, things got worse on Monday at the SCG.
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Rookie leg-spinner Todd Astle summed up the horror tour with an embarrassing dropped catch to give Marnus Labuschagne a lifeline.
Labuschagne chipped a simple return chance straight back to Astle, who somehow managed to put it down at chest height.
The bowler stayed on the ground with his head in his hands for a number of seconds, with stand-in captain Tom Latham looking demoralised.
“Can you believe it,” Shane Warne said in commentary for Fox Cricket.
“As far as caught-and-bowled’s go...this is as easy as they come.”
Fans delighted in poking fun at the struggling tourists.
That's the worst dropped catch I've ever seen from Todd Astle.#AUSvNZ— Neil (@spuddy1878) January 6, 2020
Astle dropped a sitter, pretty much sums up New Zealand's performance in this test series. #AUSvNZ— Jean Loock (@_J_loock_) January 6, 2020
Na you can’t honestly how do you drop that— Mussables (@Themuss0) January 6, 2020
My 9 years old will catch it 10 out of 10 times 🙄— Abbasi Sahab (@BiryaniWalaa) January 6, 2020
only mistake the kiwis made this summer was turning up below test standard batting— david hilliard (@davidh098765432) January 6, 2020
Aussies pile on the runs
Australia continued their march towards setting a big target for New Zealand, going to lunch at 1-172 and with a lead of 375 runs.
David Warner was unbeaten on 89 off 130 balls, with Joe Burns (40) the only man to perish in the morning session at the SCG.
Burns was trapped lbw to an Astle wrong'un, despite it originally being given not out on field by umpire Aleem Dar.
It capped off a frustrating summer for Burns, who narrowly missed out on a ton in his home Test at the Gabba and has not gone near three figures since.
However, it was a still a dominant session for Australia, with Labuschagne not out on 36.
Burns and Warner combined for a 107-run opening stand, upping the ante after being more cautious on Sunday evening.
Burns whacked two sixes from the Black Caps' spinners, while Warner has been busy in hitting 66 of his runs on Monday off just 74 balls.
He has driven tremendously, just as he has all season, and is on the verge of his third century for the Test summer.
With the Trans-Tasman Trophy already wrapped up, Australia are on the verge of securing just their 10th whitewash of a full home summer with a win in Sydney.
New Zealand are yet to score more than 260 in five innings this series, while the SCG wicket looks set to offer plenty of assistance to Nathan Lyon.
No team has successfully chased down more than 418 in Test cricket.