NZvsAus : Bird’s maiden five wicket haul puts Australia on course for victory: Left-arm medium pacer Jackson Bird is really flying high. With his maiden ‘five-wicket’ haul in Tests, he has virtually ensured a victory for Australia in the ongoing second and final Test against New Zealand at Christchurch.
Accounting for the prized wickets of Kane Williamson (97), Corey Anderson (40), Tim Southee (0), Matt Henry (66) and Trent Boult (0), and restricting the Kiwis to 335 runs in their second knock, Bird has virtually placed Australia at the door-step of victory.
Needing to score 201 runs for a win in the Test and wrapping up the two-match series 2-0, Aussies have already scored 70 runs losing David Warner (22). The first innings centurion, Joe Burns remained unbeaten on 27* runs and his partner Usman Khawaja remained unbeaten on 19* runs at draw of stumps on Day 4.
With the kind of batting depth available in the Aussie line-up, the Test match could get over by lunch on Day 5.
Kiwis never seemed to be into the Test match. Possibly they just wanted this Test to be a memorable one for their skipper, Brendon McCullum, on a personal level. To that extent, McCullum was successful in registering a century on his final Test appearance and did it in style, creating a world record.
Kiwi bowlers could not do much to prevent the duo of Aussie skipper, Steven Smith (138) and Joe Burns (170) establish a record third-wicket partnership of 289 runs in their first innings, which virtually took the game away from New Zealand.
Though the left-arm medium pacer, Neil Wagner produced a wonderful bowling effort, picking up his second ‘five-wicket’ haul in Tests (32.1-7-106-6), he could do little to prevent the Aussies from taking a crucial first innings lead of 135 runs.
The fifth-wicket partnership of 102 runs between Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson provided some kind of a stability to New Zealand’ second knock, which otherwise was at a pathetic 105 runs for the loss of 4 wickets, when the Kiwi skipper, McCullumm, fell on his personal score of 25 runs.
Williamson’s 19th Test half-century came in 117 deliveries with 4 fours. He missed what would have been his 14th Test century, by a whisker, when he got out for a patiently made 97 runs off 210 deliveries aided by 8 fours.
Anderson got out on 40 runs in 77 deliveries with 6 fours.
A rearguard action by way of the eighth-wicket partnership that produced 118 runs in 26.2 overs between the wicketkeeper, Watling and Henry could not take the team score too far.
Though Watling (46) missed out on a half-century, Henry went on to notch up his maiden Test half-century and scored 66 runs off 93 deliveries with 12 fours, before being consumed by Bird.
All these efforts of the New Zealand batsmen ended up in setting up a small target of 201 runs for Australia.
The Australians are very much in sight of a victory.