Australia 330 for 5 (Khawaja 140, Voges 91*, Smith 71) lead New Zealand 183 by 147 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Usman Khawaja barely looked in any trouble while making his first overseas Test century © Getty Images
Usman Khawaja‘s imperious fourth Test hundred in as many first innings and Adam Voges‘ calm supporting hand helped Australia take command of the Basin Reserve and stretch their first innings lead over New Zealand.
Finding an ideal offsider in Voges, Khawaja picked gaps regularly off both front and back foot to register his first Test century overseas. Given the opposition and the conditions he faced on day one, it was arguably his finest.
Voges was more reserved, but endured beyond the dismissals of Khawaja and a hard-handed Mitchell Marsh by the second new ball in the hands of Trent Boult. Peter Nevill made a studied start and by tea was established at the crease.
The pitch in Wellington has eased into an ideal batting surface, and Brendon McCullum’s bowlers struggled to find a way past Australia’s in-form overnight batting pair. Tim Southee and Boult found little movement to assist them, with pace and bounce reliably consistent for stroke play. The new ball brought more danger.
Southee had drawn a play and miss from Khawaja in the day’s first over, but the final ball was sliced firmly backward of point for a pressure-releasing boundary. From there Khawaja was particularly punishing through the covers, and swivelled to pull powerfully when Doug Bracewell dropped short.
Voges was circumspect, settling into the crease for a long occupation, but drove and cut with alacrity when the opportunities arose. He was happy enough for the most part to play in Khawaja’s slipstream, an eminently sensible approach given how well Australia’s No. 3 is playing.
Khawaja waited six balls on 99 before Mark Craig gave him an obligingly short delivery to tug behind square leg. The milestone was cause for ebullient celebration, before Khawaja got quickly back to business.
Craig had one lbw appeal against Khawaja after he had passed three figures, but DRS showed the ball was only clipping leg stump and Richard Illingworth’s not out verdict stood. As if to compound Craig’s frustration, Khawaja cut the next two deliveries for four.
After lunch the pair accelerated until their stand was worth 168 and Australia’s lead well past 100. The new ball brought the prospect of greater interest for New Zealand, and after Khawaja stroked Boult’s first ball to the cover fence the left-armer created trouble by varying his line and degree of movement.
Khawaja finally fell to a delivery that straightened down the line of middle stump for an lbw verdict from Richard Kettleborough. Next ball Marsh narrowly avoided a similar fate, but with his second he pushed with characteristic firmness and offered Boult the chance to take a wonderfully athletic return catch.
Nevill’s hands were softer, and by the interval he had Voges had consolidated. The older man was nearing a century, a fifth of his remarkably prolific, late-blooming Test match career.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo