Australia hammers New Zealand by 296 runs to take a 1-0 lead
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australia hammered New Zealand by 296 runs inside four days in the series-opening cricket test at the Perth Stadium to maintain a perfect record under lights on Sunday.
New Zealand stumbled to 171 all out after being set 467 runs for an unlikely victory on a pitch that was deteriorating rapidly as the temperature soared to 40 Celsius (107 F) for the fourth consecutive day.
Left arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc (4-45) and Nathan Lyon (4-63) wrecked the New Zealand batting before fast bowler Pat Cummins (2-31) cleaned up the tail.
It was Australia’s seventh win in as many day-night matches on home soil, and also its third straight test win following the 2-0 drubbing of Pakistan in the opening series of the summer.
Australia leads the three-test series 1-0 going into the second test in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
New Zealand crashed to 98-5 at tea, then recovered to 154-5, and lost the last five wickets for 17 runs as Australia hurried to victory with the lights taking effect and the pink ball darting around.
Starc, who took 5-52 in New Zealand’s first innings of 167 all out, finished with a match-haul of 9-97. That haul earned the quick bowler man of the match honors.
Australia won the toss and put up a match-controlling 416. The home side then refused to enforce the follow on after skittling out New Zealand for 167 and batted again to score 217-9 declared.
Marnus Labuschagne, Australia’s newest batting find, top scored with 143 in the first innings — his third consecutive hundred — and notched up 50 in the second innings.
BJ Watling (40) and Colin de Grandhomme (33) delayed the inevitable for 75 minutes as they added 56 runs for the sixth wicket before the pair fell in the space of nine deliveries triggering the collapse.
New Zealand lost Raval and Kane Williamson (14) before lunch, and when play resumed after the break opener Tom Latham (18) and Ross Taylor (22) fell to leave the visitors struggling on 57-4.
Just when Nicholls and BJ Watling appeared to settle, Lyon had Nicholls caught by Travis Head at silly point to end a 66-minute long resistance by the fifth-wicket pair.
Watling was hit flush on his face mask by fast bowler Pat Cummins and required attention on the field before continuing.
Grandhomme edged swing bowler Cumming to Steve Smith at second slip and soon after Watling was caught down leg side off Starc as the Australians successfully reviewed a decision that was turned down by the on-field umpire Nigel Llong.
Watling was lucky to have survived that long after the Australian failed to review a catch at the wicket off Lyon on 27, and then on 31 was dropped by Smith off Lyon.
When Lyon had skipper Williamson caught at short leg by Matthew Wade with his first ball it was a telling blow to any hopes New Zealand had of saving the test match.
Lyon, who dismissed Tim Southee to end the New Zealand first innings was on a hat-trick across two innings, but Taylor comfortably negotiated the delivery.
Australia declared its second innings on 217-9. Resuming the day on 167-7, the home side lost the overnight batsmen Cummins (13) and Wade (17) in the space of six balls.
Starc then smashed 23 runs off 21 balls with four boundaries before he was caught by Taylor at third man when Paine declared.
Australia lasted 53 minutes on a surface that is beginning to play up and down with the cracks widening and putting doubt in the batsmen’s minds.
Wade, the last recognised batsman, took a painful blow on his hand when he fended a Neil Wagner delivery that bounced disconcertingly.
Swing bowler Southee claimed Starc’s wicket to finish with 5-69 — his ninth five-wicket haul in his 70th test — and a match-haul of 9-162. Leftarm swing bowler Wagner took 3-59 for a match return of 7-151.