Starc burst leaves New Zealand reeling on 109-5 v Australia

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Mitchell Starc ripped through New Zealand’s top order with four wickets to leave the tourists teetering on 109-5 in reply to Australia’s 416 all out on Day 2 of the series-opening day-night test at the Perth Stadium on Friday.

New Zealand lost openers Tom Latham (0) and Jeet Raval (1) in the first 10 balls of the innings before Starc returned for his second spell and dismissed skipper Kane Williamson (34) to end a fighting 76-run stand for the third wicket with Ross Taylor (66 not out).

A couple of overs later, Starc removed Henry Nicholls (7) and nightwatchman Neil Wagner (0) off success deliveries.

Taylor and B.J. Watling, who was yet to score off eight balls, will resume with New Zealand needing another 108 runs to avoid the threat of being asked to follow-on.

Just when the experienced Williamson and Taylor looked like steering the tourists to respectability, Starc forced Williamson into a false shot and Steve Smith took a breathtaking one-handed catch at second slip as he flung, full length, to his right.

Later, Starc had Nicholls caught down the leg side, and then forced Wagner to play on to his own stumps. He was on a hat trick with the first ball of his next over, only to be denied by Taylor.

“It’s not something I want to tick off. If it happens, it happens," Starc said of getting his first test hat trick. “It was nice to get a roll-on and momentum with wickets under lights.”

Australia resumed on 248-4 and was dismissed by tea, with No. 3 batsman Marnus Labuschagne the top scorer with 143 and Travis Head hitting an aggressive 56.

“We batted slowly through the middle session. The plan was to try and get close to the evening session," Starc said. "It was pretty slow to watch but it was part of the pink-ball tactics to utilize the pink ball under lights. It’s justified when you take five wickets in the last session."

Starc, who hit a quick 30 runs earlier in the afternoon and has figures of 4-31 off 11 overs, extracted steep bounce and took a return catch off Latham’s leading edge on the fifth ball of the innings.

When Josh Hazlewood took the wicket of Raval, who was bowled off his pads, it left New Zealand teetering on 2-1 and the tourists continued to struggle even when Hazlewood left the field two balls into his second over with a suspected strained left hamstring. He will undergo scans overnight.

“It will be hard with a bowler down,” Starc said, “but the plus side is that we’ve got them five down.”

New Zealand toiled for 10 hours and 146.2 overs in hot conditions over two days before finally dismissing Australia, with swing bowler Tim Southee (4-93) and Wagner (4-92) the pick of the New Zealand bowlers.

Labuschagne, who resumed on 110, narrowly missed his third consecutive 150 when he was bowled around his legs by Wagner. He hit a six and 18 boundaries in his 240-ball innings over six hours.

Ravel, a part-time legspinner, gave New Zealand something to smile about in the afternoon when he bowled Pat Cummins (20) around his legs to end a 38-run, seventh-wicket stand with captain Tim Paine after the pair resumed 337-6 after the lunch break.

Runs were hard to come by in the middle session against disciplined line-and-length bowling by the New Zealand bowlers until Starc arrived at the crease.

He took to spinners Mitchell Santner and Raval, smashing a six and three fours. Starc was dropped by Raval at mid-off on 27 as the left-hander tried to hit Southee over the top.

Two overs later, though, trying to repeat the shot again off Southee, Starc holed out to Williamson, who took a brilliant catch running backward toward the boundary. It triggered a lower-order collapse, with Australia losing three wickets in nine balls.

Paine was the last batsman to fall, caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Watling off Southee for 39 runs cobbled together over three hours, off 105 balls.

New Zealand was playing without fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, who was ruled out of the test with a strained calf muscle in his right leg sustained on the opening afternoon.


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