Australia 455 for 5 (Voges 51*, Marsh 8*) lead New Zealand 370 by 85 runs
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Adam Voges took his average past 100 once again © Getty Images
Adam Voges resumed his dominance of the batting crease, and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon hung around far longer than New Zealand would have wanted as Australia built a decent first-innings lead on the third morning of the Christchurch Test.
On an overcast morning Voges and Lyon blunted the hosts’ early spells, making life considerably easier for the allrounder Mitchell Marsh when he arrived. He and Voges now had the chance to grow Australia’s advantage in the afternoon.
For Voges it was another instance of applying the sturdy, calculated approach that has brought him runs at a scarcely believable rate in recent times. Once more his average cleared 100, the only man with a reasonable body of work to occupy that rarefied air above Sir Donald Bradman. He needed a score of 133 to keep it there should he be dismissed.
Brendon McCullum tried everything for wickets, eventually settling on a tandem of Kane Williamson and himself with the ball. He took an agile one-handed catch at slip, off the bowling of Williamson, to send Lyon back for 33, seven short of his personal best.
There had been more ambitious hopes for New Zealand when play began, following up on last evening’s dismissals of Joe Burns and Steven Smith in quick succession. Neil Wagner resumed with a similar line of attack, peppering Voges and Lyon with short stuff.
Partly through determination and good technique, partly due to the docile character of the pitch, the batsmen were able to stand up to this examination. Lyon repeatedly covered the bounce and dead-batted it near his feet.
Runs flowed a little more freely after those early overs, though neither batsman played with extravagance. Voges offered a neat cut shot here, a checked drive there, while Lyon worked the ball around with the earnest intent of a man who would like to bat further up the order more often.
Trent Boult had one concerted lbw appeal and review against Voges, but the ball did not swing back enough. It was telling that McCullum was reduced to bowling himself with the nightwatchman at the crease, and the Hagley Oval crowd raised a cheer when he beat Lyon’s outside edge.
At the other end Williamson would tempt Lyon into following a ball angled across him, and McCullum swooped nicely for the catch. Marsh had a 21-ball sighter before the interval, and had the potential to lift the scoring rate dramatically upon resumption of play.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo