MELBOURNE – Australia captain Tim Paine lavished praise on fiery seamer James Pattinson for lighting the spark that led to an emphatic series-sealing victory over New Zealand in the Boxing Day test on Sunday.
Pattinson, who replaced the injured Josh Hazlewood in Australia's formidable pace attack, crashed through New Zealand's top order with a three-wicket burst in nine deliveries in the morning, all but ending the Black Caps' hopes of saving the match.
He finished with a six-wicket haul in Australia's 247-run victory and teamed brilliantly with fellow paceman Pat Cummins on a much scrutinised Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket in the first innings.
It was a fine return for the 29-year-old Pattinson who was suspended for a match in the leadup to the earlier two-test series against Pakistan for an offensive sledge at an opponent when playing a Sheffield Shield game for Victoria.
He was subsequently left out of the test team as Cummins, Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc combined with aplomb in the 2-0 series defeat of Pakistan.