Green and Lyon star as Australia wins the 1st Test by 172 runs against New Zealand

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Australia had a fruitful Test match as the battle for the WTC crown gets intense

Australia toured New Zealand after 8 years for a Test series and Tim Southee asked the visitors to bat first at the Basin Reserve in Wellington after winning the toss.

Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja walked out to face the song and the former Australian skipper smashed three boundaries in the first 25 balls of the innings while the southpaw decided to take the shine off the new ball by patiently holding one end as the Kangaroos reached the 50-run mark in the 21st over.

Matt Henry dismissed Smith with Tom Blundell completing a brilliant catch as Australia took Lunch on Day 1 at a score of 62/1. Marnus Labuschagne was the next to be dismissed as he lost his wicket to Scott Kuggeleijn with Daryl Mitchell completing the catch in the slip cordon.

Like the first two wickets, the next two wickets of the hosts also fell in a pair as Henry got his second wicket of the innings by going through the gates and removing the bails ending Khawaja’s innings at a score of 33 runs. After a brilliant debut against South Africa, William O’Rourke got his first wicket of the match as Travis Head was caught behind by Blundell.

Finding themselves in a precarious position of 89/4, Cameron Green and Mitchell Marsh built a solid partnership and took the Kangaroos to Tea on Day 1 at a score of 147/4. The duo could only add 9 more runs after Tea as Marsh top-edged the ball up in the air and Blundell completed his third catch of the day to dismiss the ICC U-19 World Cup winner at a score of 40 runs.

Green took on the onus of scoring boundaries after the dismissal of the hard-hitting Marsh but Alex Carey couldn’t hold the other end for much time as Kane Williamson completed a regulation catch at cover off Kuggeleijn’s bowling.

In the 70th over, Green helped his side reach the 200-run mark and also brought up his half-century with two consecutive boundaries. Mitchell Starc was caught by Tom Latham in the slip cordon becoming the 11th victim of O’Rourke’s short Test career.

Pat Cummins and Green decided to take the attack to the Kiwi bowlers before Rachin Ravindra trapped the Australian Skipper LBW at a score of 16 runs. Henry ensured Lyon’s batting skills were neutralized as he was caught behind after contributing only 5 runs.

Cameron Green put on 174 runs and remained unbeaten till the end of the first innings

Green scored three fours in the 85th over to bring up his second Test century and finish the day’s play with the visitors putting up 279/9 on the scoreboard.

The Kiwi bowlers would have expected to strike early in the morning so that Latham and Will Young could start putting runs on the board but Josh Hazlewood got stuck at his end allowing Green to fire from the other end and reach the 150-run mark with a maximum.

The No.11 finally ended his resistance as Henry completed his 5-fer courtesy of a catch by Ravindra at mid-off. Green and Hazlewood contributed a total of 116 runs for the 10th wicket setting the record for the highest partnership for the 10th wicket by an Australian pair in Tests.

Early in the innings, Latham chopped the ball onto his stumps followed by the in-form Williamson clashing with Young who was caught ball-watching as the Kangaroos enforced the run out of the former New Zealand captain on a duck.

Playing his first Test at his home ground in Wellington, Ravindra drove the ball straight to Lyon and another Kiwi batter was back in the hut without troubling the scorers. When it looked like Daryl Mitchell and Young would forge a successful partnership, skipper Pat Cummins bowled in the corridor of uncertainty sending the middle-order batter packing on a score of 11 runs.

Carey completed two consecutive catches in two balls as Marsh removed Young from the 22-yard patch and the Kiwis were in a precarious position of 29/5. Moreover, the hosts now had two new batters in the form of Phillips and Blundell on the crease.

Phillips led the counter-attack and was later joined by Blundell as the former completed his half-century within 43 balls sending shockwaves through the Aussie bowling line-up. The wicket-keeper batter soon gave away his wicket though on a score of 33 runs with Head completing the catch off Lyon’s bowling.

Lyon got his second wicket as Kuggeleijn was dismissed on the second ball he faced, holing out in the deep. Henry then forged the second-highest partnership of the innings as he adopted Phillips’ aggressive approach early on in the innings with two maximums against the off-spinner.

Hazlewood outdid Phillipps with a short ball as the power-hitter found Starc at fine leg after contributing 71 runs and the Kiwis’ skipper Southee was also dismissed by Lyon soon after. After a couple more entertaining shots, Henry also holed out in the deep off Lyon’s bowling ending the New Zealand innings at a score of 179 runs.

Southee gave the home crowd reasons to cheer in the first over as Smith chopped the ball back onto the stumps and was back in the pavilion without disturbing the scorers. Labuschagne could only score 2 runs before becoming Southee’s second victim with Blundell completing the catch.

Lyon came out as the nightwatchman and ensured Australia was safely docked at a score of 13/2 with Khawaja batting at the other end.

The overnight batting pair once again troubled the Kiwi bowlers as they conceded 40 more runs on the morning of Day 3 with Lyon doing the major chunk of the scoring before Henry dismissed the nightwatchman after scoring 41 runs off 46 balls. 

Khawaja was the next batter to be dismissed as he danced out against Phillips and Blundell stumped the opening batter after contributing 28 runs off 69 balls. Hero of the first innings, Green joined hands with Head and the duo ensured that the Kangaroos didn’t lose any wickets and closed the first session of the third day’s play at a score of 113/4. 

Phillips got his second wicket after Lunch in the form of Head as the southpaw found Kuggeleijn at long-off. On the very next ball, Marsh got out on a golden duck as he found Young at forward short leg.

Glenn Phillips became one of the rare three cricketers to score a century, bag a five-wicket haul, and complete a stumping in international cricket

Alex Carey came out to face the hat-trick ball and negotiated the threat with ease for the moment but became Phillips’ fourth victim as he found skipper Southee at short cover. The Sunrisers Hyderabad all-rounder completed his five-wicket haul with Green’s wicket who was also caught at forward short leg.

After two freak drop catches, Henry removed Cummins as Latham completed the catch in the slip cordon followed by Starc’s wicket who was clean bowled ending Australia’s innings at a score of 164 runs with the Kiwis requiring a total of 369 runs in the fourth innings.

Latham was once again dismissed early on a score of 8 runs by Lyon and Williamson negotiated the threat posed by the experienced spinner calmly for four balls as New Zealand took Tea on Day 3 at a score of 15/1.

After a couple of boundaries, Williamson was trapped by Lyon using a leg slip as Smith completed a fine catch ending a disappointing Test with the bat in hand for the former New Zealand skipper.

While Rachin took on the onus of scoring runs, Young kept his focus on preserving his wicket which ended with a brilliant one-handed reflex catch by Smith as Head delivered instantly after being brought into the bowling attack.

The southpaw brought up his half-century and also helped the hosts breach the 100-run mark with a six and a four in the 35th over. The Kiwis closed out the play on Day 3 at a score of 111/3 with 258 more runs required to win the contest while the Kangaroos needed 7 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

After a solid start early on Day 4, Ravindra cut the ball straight to Green off Lyon’s bowling ending his innings at a score of 59 runs off 105 balls. In the same over, Blundell got out on a duck in an exact replica of his dismissal from the first innings.

Unlike the first innings, Phillips couldn’t contribute much with the bat in hand as he was trapped Leg Before Wicket by Lyon who completed his 10th 5-wicket haul in the ICC World Test Championship with the crucial wicket.

Kuggeleijn raced to a score of 26 runs off 27 balls before Green struck for the first time in the match and sent him back to the pavilion. Henry continued the onslaught before gifting his wicket to Hazlewood and Southee also holed out in the deep to Lyon shortly after Henry’s dismissal.

Mitchell top-edged the ball straight up in the air allowing Hazlewood to complete the catch off his own bowling and help his side edge the Wellington Test by 172 runs.