Watling, Henry build pesky stand

Tea New Zealand 370 and 311 for 7 (Watling 46*, Henry 45*, Bird 3-59) lead Australia 505 by 176 runs
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Jackson Bird struck took three wickets in ten deliveries to leave New Zealand struggling © Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Jackson Bird struck three times in 10 balls before BJ Watling and Matt Henry formed a pesky lower order stand to lift New Zealand’s lead over Australia to 176 by tea on day four of the second Test at Hagley Oval.

Australian tempers had simmered during a long stand of 102 runs between Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson, but Bird struck once with the old ball then twice with the new to take the visitors closer to a fourth-innings chase. Watling and Henry, however, played with good sense to add an unbeaten 101 for the eighth wicket, ensuring New Zealand will have something to defend.

James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood again bowled with pace, direction and reverse swing in the first hour and went exceptionally close to dismissing both batsmen more than once. Hazlewood’s last appeal – and Australia’s last referral – moments before lunch drew another denial and considerable frustration from Steven Smith’s men.

But the clearest chance of the morning went down when Mitchell Marsh dropped Anderson in the gully, and the tourists went to the interval clearly angry at not being able to dislodge the overnight pair.

Old-ball swing had been key to Australia claiming four wickets on the third evening, and it was again evident as Pattinson and Hazlewood resumed their barrage. Williamson and then Anderson were both subjects of concerted lbw appeals, but on each occasion DRS replays showed contact with bat first.

Anderson’s escape was queried by the Australians, but was quickly followed by a ball angled across and a sliced drive that burst through Marsh’s hands. By the standard set in this match, including Marsh’s own unrewarded catch off a no-ball on day one, it was a bad miss.

Full report to follow

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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