Australia close in after reverse-swing barrage

New Zealand 183 and 241 for 7 (Bracewell 14*, Craig 9*, Lyon 3-50) trail Australia 562 (Voges 239, Khawaja 140) by 138 runs runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mitchell Marsh continued from where he left off last evening and made the old ball talk © AFP

Another session of high quality old-ball bowling by Australia took the visitors to the brink of an innings victory over New Zealand at lunch on day four of the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird all used reverse swing to good effect, while Nathan Lyon homed in on a footmark outside the right-handers’ off stump to gain sharp spin on the drying pitch. The absence of Peter Siddle, resting a back complaint, was well compensated for.

Henry Nicholls endured longest for the hosts, on the way to making the highest score by a New Zealand debutant batting at No. 4. But his dismissal on 59 by Bird left the tail exposed to the bounce and conventional swing of the second new ball.

Having lost Brendon McCullum from the last ball of day three, New Zealand’s chances of survival were slim, and they narrowed further when the 63-over old ball began bending in both directions. Corey Anderson struggled with the ball moving away from him around the wicket, but after a few play and misses Steven Smith directed Marsh to go over the wicket and try to straighten one down the line.

Second ball of the over, Marsh pitched one in line and swung it back to pin Anderson in front. Like McCullum he reviewed, but it was a futile gesture for a delivery crashing into middle and leg.

BJ Watling arrived and his first ball from Lyon hit the aforementioned footmark and narrowly missed spinning back to strike the off stump with no shot offered. Lyon took note of this, and it was not long before he delivered a slightly flatter delivery on the same line that had Watling playing back, fatally. The turning ball was through him in an instant.

Nicholls had absorbed all this pressure, but Bird’s decision to send one down at a full length made the difference, coaxing the batsman into a flick across the line. Again there was some swing, and the ball flicked off the pads into he stumps. At this the Australians took the second new ball, and a Hazlewood lbw review against Doug Bracewell was declined due to a lack of conclusive evidence before the interval.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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