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Sunday April 21, 2024

Australia take charge in Wellington after Green’s rearguard

By REUTERS
March 02, 2024
Australias Cameron Green plays a shot in this undated file image. — AFP/File
Australia's Cameron Green plays a shot in this undated file image. — AFP/File

WELLINGTON: Australia dismissed New Zealand for 179 to take control of the first Test on Friday’s second day after Cameron Green had scored a brilliant 174 not out in a defiant final-wicket partnership to drive the visitors to 383 all out.

The Black Caps lost wickets in clumps as they reeled in the face of Australia’s attack with Glenn Phillips’s aggressive 71 serving only to save the home side from deeper embarrassment in front of a sellout crowd at Wellington’s Basin Reserve.

Australia chose not to enforce the follow-on but the wickets kept falling with skipper Tim Southee dismissing Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne cheaply as the shadows across the ground lengthened.

Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon was dropped by Southee in the slips off the last ball of the day and will resume on six not out alongside Usman Khawaja, who was unbeaten on five. Australia are on 13 for two, leading by 217 runs.

New Zealand, looking for only a second win over their neighbours in 24 Tests this century, had started the day hoping to quickly remove the final Australian wicket but Green and Josh Hazlewood refused to yield for two hours.

All-rounder Green, who had reached the century mark for the second time in Tests on the penultimate ball of day one, continued to play his shots, scoring 23 fours and five sixes in a marathon 275-ball innings.

Hazlewood contributed 22 off 62 balls at the other end as the pair combined for 116 runs before seamer Matt Henry finally winkled out the Australian paceman to claim his second Test five-wicket haul (5-70).

“Obviously Greeny did the bulk of the work but it was good to be at the other end watching that sort of innings,” said Hazlewood. “For his career, it can be huge, I think, his second hundred for Australia on that sort of wicket against that sort of attack. Outstanding.”

Australia’s final tally was bolstered by 41 extras, which included 20 wides, but New Zealand’s profligacy was not to be limited to their fielding and they were quickly reduced to 12-3.

Tom Latham played on to depart for five and two balls later Kane Williamson ran himself out for a duck after bumping into his batting partner Will Young while Labuschagne was wrecking the stumps with a direct hit.

Three balls later and Rachin Ravindra was also sent back with zero runs to his name after a fine Nathan Lyon catch off the bowling of Hazlewood.

Australia skipper Pat Cummins triggered the next collapse when he had Daryl Mitchell caught behind with the final ball of one over and Mitchell Marsh ended Young’s innings with the first ball of the next to leave the hosts on 29-5.

Phillips and Tom Blundell steadied the sinking ship with a partnership of 84 but Lyon (4-43) brought an end to that when he had the latter caught for 33 off an inside edge.

Two balls later, Scott Kuggeleijn became the off spinner’s second victim and the home side were again on the ropes at 113-7. Hazlewood finally found the way to evict Phillips with a short delivery the batsman top-edged to Starc in the deep and when Lyon stopped Henry’s pugnacious innings on 42, the end was not long coming.

“Cam Green and Hazlewood did really well and that’s obviously not exactly ideal for us,” said Phillips. “The pitch is still doing a little bit and that new ball definitely brings us into the game quite a lot.” The second and final Test in Christchurch begins on March 8. —Reuters

New Zealand won the toss

Australia 1st Innings 383

New Zealand 1st Innings

Latham b Starc 5

Young c Carey b Marsh 9

Williamson run out (Labuschagne) 0

Ravindra c Lyon b Hazlewood 0

Mitchell c Carey b Cummins 11

Blundell c Head b Lyon 33

Phillips c Starc b Hazlewood 71

Kuggeleijn c Green b Lyon 0

Henry c Labuschagne b Lyon 42

Southee (c) c Head b Lyon 1

O Rourke not out 0

Extras: (b 1, lb 3, nb 2, w 1) 7

Total: 43.1 Ov 179

Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-12, 3-12, 4-29, 5-29, 6-113, 7-113, 8-161, 9-162, 10-179

Bowling: Mitchell Starc 9-4-34-1, Josh Hazlewood 12-0-55-2, Pat Cummins 10-2-33-1, Mitchell Marsh 4-0-10-1, Nathan Lyon 8.1-1-43-4

Australia 2nd Innings

Smith b Southee 0

Khawaja not out 5

Labuschagne c Blundell b Southee 2

Nathan Lyon not out 6

Extras: 0

Total: 8 Ov (RR: 1.62) 13/2

Yet to bat: Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Josh Hazlewood

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-4

Bowling: Tim Southee 4-2-5-2, Matt Henry 4-1-8-0

Umpires: Marais Erasmus, Michael Gough