Australia batsman Adam Voges has ample reason to thank the cricketing gods for second chances.
Bowled for seven by New Zealand paceman Doug Bracewell late on Friday, Voges was reprieved by a wrong no-ball call and finally gave up his wicket for 239 on Sunday, having put his team in complete control of the first Test in Wellington.
New Zealand, who were skittled for 183 in their first innings, were reduced to 178-4 in their second at the close of day three at the Basin Reserve, still 201 runs adrift after Voges drove the tourists to a mammoth 562.
The hosts face an improbable task to save the match.
Voges’ double-century was the second of his short international career. He has now scored 1,267 runs to average 97.46 since making his debut at the age of 35 in the Caribbean last year.
“I thought I was out,” he told reporters of his non-dismissal on Friday.
“But to have that bit of luck and then capitalise on the second opportunity I’m very happy.”
Until he was dismissed on Sunday, his Test average was 105, higher than the 99.94 of the great Don Bradman, revered as the best batsman of all time.
“That doesn’t sit too comfortably with me to be honest,” Voges said of comparisons with the former Australia captain.
“I’m probably happy that I’m out now and it’s gone back under (100).
“It was never going to stay there. It won’t stay there. I know that.”
Voges became the oldest player to score a Test century on debut with his unbeaten 130 against West Indies last June, another second chance grabbed with both hands.
He was named in Australia’s Test squad in 2006 after the retirement of Damien Martyn but never played and spent the next nine years as a bit player in limited-overs international sides.
Age and experience helped him take his impressive form in first class cricket into the Test arena, he said. He knew his game, studied the opposition bowlers and knew how he could combat their plans for him.
“I’ve got an idea of how I want to go about my innings,” he added.
“It comes with confidence as well being able to trust your ability, trust your defence and then being able to attack when the opportunity presents.”