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Lyon spins Australia to handsome victory


Published : 03 Mar 2024 09:20 PM
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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 on Sunday.

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 o 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. Lyon, who also top-scored in Australia's second innings with 41, was the standout performer alongside Cameron Green, whose masterful unbeaten 174 in the first innings was remarkable on a bowler-friendly surface. It was just the fifth Test match where 13 bowlers took a wicket and the first since 1966..

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.