Lyon spins Australia to handsome victory with ten-wicket match haul

New Zealand

Australia 383 (Green 174*, Henry 5-70) and 164 (Lyon 41, Phillips 5-45) beat New Zealand 179 (Phillips 71, Lyon 4-43) and 196 (Ravindra 59, Lyon 6-65) by 172 runs

Nathan Lyon crushed New Zealand’s hopes early on day four to complete a 10-wicket match haul as Australia recorded a convincing 172-run first Test victory at the Basin Reserve.

After a stirring fightback on day three, New Zealand resumed at 111 for 3 as they eyed the daunting target of 369 with a near capacity crowd hopeful of a rearguard.

But after a sedate start, with the surface appearing to be playing a little easier than the opening three days, Lyon claimed the wickets of Rachin Ravindra, Tom Blundell and Glenn Phillips in two overs to effectively end New Zealand’s resistance.

Watching wickets tumble at the other end, Daryl Mitchell held firm in vain and was the last batter dismissed for 38 off 130 balls.

On a surface that turned and bounced sharply, Lyon always loomed large and once again he was Australia’s match-winner to finish with 6 for 65 and match figures of 10-108. It was the first 10-wicket haul by a spinner in New Zealand since 2006.

With just one Test victory over Australia since 1993, New Zealand’s misery continued having struggled to muster much resistance with the bat after being bowled out for under 200 runs in both innings.

After starting well having sent Australia in, New Zealand rued a wayward bowling effort where they watched helplessly as Green and Josh Hazlewood combined for a record 116-run last-wicket partnership. New Zealand also were left to lament not selecting frontline spinner Mitchell Santner as the surface increasingly offered bite as the match wore on.

New Zealand’s capitulation early on day four was an anti-climax after an impressive fightback gave them some belief. But New Zealand needed to rewrite the record books if they were to take the lead in this series with their highest successful fourth-innings run chase being 324 against Pakistan at Christchurch in 1994.

Needing a further 258 runs, there were no alarms in the first 30 minutes for Ravindra and Mitchell, who had combined for a calm half-century partnership late on day three.

They defended well and looked to be proactive although it almost proved their undoing when they took off for a tight single with Mitchell relieved after Marnus Labuschagne’s shy at the stumps missed.

Having played watchfully late on day three given the precarious situation, Mitchell started to show glimpses of his innate aggressiveness when on his 82nd delivery he hit his first boundary of the innings after slashing a short delivery from Mitchell Starc.

After flowing to a fifty off 77 balls before the close, Ravindra was shackled and started to look anxious in his bid for runs. Australia sensed this and packed the off-side field as Lyon changed to the southern end of the ground.

It did the trick with Ravindra falling for the trap as he miss-hit a cut shot to point to trigger a collapse. Later in the over, Lyon dismissed Blundell for a duck after he tentatively pressed forward and inside edged to short-leg much like his soft dismissal in the first innings.

New Zealand’s hopes entirely rested on Mitchell and Phillips, who had been their star in this match with a 70-ball 71 in the first inning before claiming his first five-wicket Test haul in Australia’s second innings.

But Phillips was no match for Lyon after being trapped lbw on the back foot as he reviewed unsuccessfully. It was Lyon’s first five-wicket haul in New Zealand as he joined Shane Warne and Muthiah Muralidaran as the only bowlers to have reached that feat in nine countries.

After his marathon knock, Green had not bowled in the match until day four and showed off his prowess with the ball as he delivered a brute of a delivery that ballooned off the gloves of Scott Kuggeleijn to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

Green’s wicket meant seven Australian bowlers took wickets for the match, which was the most for them since 2012 against West Indies in Roseau.

Fittingly, given their heroic performances, Green, Lyon and Hazlewood claimed the final wickets as Australia’s stranglehold over New Zealand continued.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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