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New Zealand rocked early in chase for 369 to beat Australia

Messenger Sports

Published: 16:59, 2 March 2024

New Zealand rocked early in chase for 369 to beat Australia

Photo : Collected

New Zealand lost the wicket of Tom Latham early in their daunting pursuit of 369 to beat Australia in the first Test in Wellington on Saturday. Glenn Phillips took five wickets as Australia were bundled out for 164 in their second innings but New Zealand were 15-1 at tea on day three, leaving the tourists in a strong position.

Latham was dismissed for eight, caught behind off the second ball bowled by off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who shapes as a key figure on a spin-friendly wicket after taking four wickets in the first innings. Earlier, Australia lost their last six wickets in the space of 13 overs after lunch on a Basin Reserve pitch taking considerable turn and offering inconsistent bounce to the seam bowlers.

Part-time off-spinner Phillips capitalised, tearing through the middle order to claim career-best figures of 5-45. Phillips, who didn't bowl in the first innings, became just the second New Zealand spinner to take a five-for at the Basin Reserve in 34 years.

It should have been six but Australian captain Pat Cummins was dropped twice in the outfield off Phillips' bowling late in the innings. New Zealand made two breakthroughs in the first session, removing nightwatchman Lyon for Australia's top score of 41 and opener Usman Khawaja for 28.

An aggressive Lyon struck six fours, including three in succession off New Zealand captain Tim Southee, before being caught an over later by a leaping Will Young at mid-wicket off Matt Henry's bowling.

Khawaja was more circumspect but lost composure when he advanced down the pitch to Phillips and was stumped. First-innings centurion Cameron Green scored 34 and Travis Head 29 but the end of their 46-run partnership for the fifth wicket sparked a collapse.

Head miscued Phillips to be caught at long-on, before the spinner removed Mitchell Marsh and Alex Carey to close catchers. Green, who scored a career-high unbeaten 174 in the first innings, was also caught in close before Henry picked up the last two wickets to finish with 3-36.

New Zealand's Will O'Rourke left the field after pulling up with a tight hamstring in his eighth over, putting the seamer in doubt for the second and final Test in Christchurch.