Despite another fighting rearguard effort from New Zealand’s long, big-hitting tail, Australia wrapped up an innings victory before tea on Day 4 of the first Test in Wellington.
Resuming on 4/178 after Brendon McCullum fell in the last over of play on Sunday, the Black Caps still needed another 201 runs to make the tourists bat again after their mammoth first-innings total of 562.
A quick end to proceedings appeared likely when Corey Anderson departed for a 22-ball duck, trapped lbw by Mitch Marsh – the same fate that had befallen McCullum. Wicketkeeper BJ Watling lasted nine overs before departing for 10, bowled by Nathan Lyon.
Henry Nicholls surpassed the highest score by a New Zealand No.4 on debut – beating the modest record of 45 – and moved on to his maiden Test half-century, but had his stumps rattled by Jackson Bird on 59. The hosts were 7/218, having lost three wickets for the addition of only 40 runs as they struggled for survival on Monday morning.
But the tail provided some belated respite for the healthy home crowd as Doug Bracewell (14) doggedly held down one end and first-innings top-scorer Mark Craig (33 not out) began playing his shots.
Josh Hazlewood claimed Bracewell lbw, but that brought Tim Southee to the crease. The robust pace-man plundered five boundaries and three sixes in an entertaining 48 from 23 balls, adding the all-time Test record for most sixes by a No.10 to the mantle he already held for most sixes by a No.9.
With the fastest-ever 50 by a New Zealander well within his sights, Southee went for the big shot once too often and holed out to Lyon, who took his game-high seventh wicket, with Khawaja snaffling his fourth outfield catch of the Test.
Trent Boult hoisted Lyon over the fence to take outright ownership of the Test record for most sixes by a No.11, before becoming the last man out for 12, bowled by Marsh while employing his trademark ‘flamingo’ stance.
Dismissing the Kiwis for 323, Australia sealed an emphatic win by an innings and 52 runs. Adam Voges was named man-of-the-match for his 239, although his controversial no-ball reprieve in the last over of Day 1 while on 7 remained a post-match talking point.
That significant rub of the green notwithstanding, the visitors comprehensively outplayed their highly-rated opponents, dominating almost every session. It was the Black Caps’ first Test loss at home in four years and McCullum’s maiden defeat on New Zealand soil as captain – underlining the Aussies’ outstanding performance in subduing one of the rising forces in world cricket, despite having a couple of key men missing in a line-up that is still finding its way.
The second Test starts in Christchurch on Saturday – McCullum’s farewell match as New Zealand seeks retribution and the recovery of lost pride, and an opportunity for Australia to snare one of their most impressive away series victories of recent times and possibly the world No.1 ranking.
That’s more than enough for Aussie fans to shout about.