Australia v New Zealand Test series: No-ball issues still worrying James Pattinson

James Pattinson is looming as a major weapon for Australia as they aim to regain the No.1 Test ranking in New Zealand, but he is yet to get on top of his no-ball issues.

There are not many bowlers in world cricket who can tame New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum but the Victorian is one of them.

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Pattinson, the fastest bowler on tour, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle are likely to be given first crack at the Kiwis in Wellington.

Pattinson has dismissed McCullum three times in four innings, for totals of one, 16 and 12. A repeat this series will give Australia a massive psychological edge as the Black Caps rely on their captain to set the tone.

Howzat: Australian cricket fans will get a ticket discount next summer.
Howzat: Australian cricket fans will get a ticket discount next summer. Photo: Getty Images

But Pattinson's hold on McCullum will count for little if he cannot correct his habit of overstepping.

The issue came to light in the Boxing Day Test, costing him a five-wicket haul in front of his home crowd.


While the West Indies did not have the batting power to make Australia pay a heavy toll for his mistake, Pattinson will not want to give the likes of Kane Williamson and McCullum a second chance.

Pattinson bowled several no balls at training on Wednesday, sometimes by a decent margin, and was reminded by coach Darren Lehmann of his transgressions.

Ready for the Kiwis: James Pattinson worked up some lively pace in the nets at the Basin Reserve on Wednesday.
Ready for the Kiwis: James Pattinson worked up some lively pace in the nets at the Basin Reserve on Wednesday. Photo: Getty Images

In the paceman's defence, he will be coming in off a different run during a game.

Pattinson admitted during the Melbourne Test that he tended to "push the line" when he bowled, which meant he had an even smaller margin for error when he was at full tilt.

There is a silver lining to Pattinson's relapse as it is a sign he is building a good head of steam leading into the first Test after missing close to a month with a shin injury.

Pattinson proved a handful for several of his teammates with his high pace and swing, particularly Joe Burns.

Pattinson announced himself as a bowler of considerable potential in his debut series, capturing 14 wickets at 14 against New Zealand.

The Black Caps are a much better team now than in 2011 but will not find Pattinson easy to combat in the expected bowler-friendly conditions.

"Patto's one of our spearheads, he's probably one of our fastest bowlers on this trip. He really wants to take that onus upon himself," David Warner said. "We know what he can do in these conditions, he can swing it, he can seam it and he does have the pace.

"He looked like he was bowling good line and lengths in there and he was working on little things."

Australia believe they have Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer from the Chappell-Hadlee series, covered with the red ball.

"I think we did get the better of him in Australia. He plays a lot differently in Tests compared to one-dayers. He's quite confident in limited-overs games, he knows his game really well at the top of the order," Hazlewood said.

"But I think he's still a bit uncertain in the Test arena so we'll be looking to exploit that again and stay on top of him, as we've done in Australia."