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HomeCricketAustralia Leads The First Test Following New Zealand's Collapse

Australia Leads The First Test Following New Zealand’s Collapse

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After a disastrous day for the hosts New Zealand in Wellington that left them 217 runs behind and needing to win the match, Australia took control of the first Test on Friday.

Australia took control of the opening Test on Friday as hosts New Zealand fell 217 runs behind in Wellington and faced a mountain to climb to stay in the game. The visitors finished on 13-2 in the second innings, with nightwatchman Nathan Lyon not out for six and opener Usman Khawaja on five after Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne were dismissed cheaply. Tim Southee bowled Smith with his third ball, while Tom Blundell caught the out-of-form Labuschagne behind.

Nevertheless, Southee ended a miserable day for New Zealand at Basin Reserve by dropping Lyon in the slips late in the game against Matt Henry. Before bowling out New Zealand for 179, Cameron Green had hammered an unbeaten 174 as Australia rushed to an impressive first-innings 383 lead. Australia made an early breakthrough, bowling out Tom Latham (5) and then, in the space of five balls, Rachin Ravindra and Kane Williamson fell for ducks, leaving them trailing 12-3. The strongest opposition came from Glenn Phillips, who was removed for 71 after being caught by Mitchell Starc off a Josh Hazlewood delivery. Then Australia swiftly removed New Zealand’s tail. The meager highlight was Phillips’ 84-wicket partnership with Tom Blundell (33).

“The pitch was moving around a little bit and they were hitting really good areas so it was up to us to get the pressure back up on them,” Phillips added.

“Obviously, Green and Hazlewood performed admirably and formed a formidable alliance. It’s not ideal for us, but that’s how Test cricket is.

The Black Caps never recovered from a disastrous start by their top order.

Latham played on in the fourth over, unable to cope with Starc’s pace. It got worse when Williamson and Ravindra went out shortly after.

Williamson was run out following a farcical collision with opener Will Young midway down the wicket, and Labuschagne’s throw was excellent.

Three balls later, Ravindra was caught at point by Lyon, compounding New Zealand’s agony.

Daryl Mitchell scored 11 before being caught by wicketkeeper Alex Carey off Cummins.

Young nicked Mitchell Marsh on the following ball, and Carey collected once more, leaving New Zealand battling at 29-5 until Blundell and Phillips helped to steady the ship.

Phillips was ultimately removed after he hit Starc with a Hazlewood bouncer in a deep backward square. Lyon, the Spin King, finished with 4-43.

Green continued where he left off in the morning, adding to his overnight 103 with a six to take the visitors above 300 after they resumed on 279-2.

The 24-year-old added another six to the agony for the Black Caps bowlers, his 174 surpassing his maiden Test century of 114 against India last year.

His knock had 23 fours and five sixes, saving the Australians after their top-order batsmen faltered in their first innings on Thursday.

Green led the charge in a magnificent 116-run last-wicket partnership with a tenacious Hazlewood, who survived 62 balls for 22 before being caught by Ravindra off Henry.

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