Starc smashes 160-kpmh mark while Williamson breaks into elite batting club as bat continues to hold sway
Ross Taylor emerged from a form slump to score his second Test double century as New Zealand closed in on Australia’s massive total at close of play on the third day of the second Test at the WACA Ground in Perth on Sunday (November 15).
With Taylor unbeaten on a career-best 235 not out at stumps, New Zealand was 510 for 6 in reply to Australia’s 559 for 9 declared, trailing by just 49 runs with four wickets in hand.
Kane Williamson and Mitchell Starc joined elite company as the bat continued to hold sway. Williamson, the New Zealand No. 3, became one of the four youngest players to reach 12 Test centuries when he made 166, while Starc bowled what is believed to be the fastest recorded delivery in Test cricket.
Williamson rarely looked troubled in posting his second century in as many Tests before mistiming a pull off Josh Hazlewood to be caught at mid-on by Mitchell Johnson, ending a record 265-run stand with Taylor, a new milestone for New Zealand in Tests against Australia.
He faced 250 balls in 390 minutes and hit 24 boundaries. Williamson, 25, made 140 and 59 in the first Test at the Gabba, which New Zealand lost by 208 runs.
This was his 12th Test century and only three other players have scored as many centuries at the same age -- the others being Sachin Tendulkar (16), Don Bradman (13) and Alastair Cook (12).
Williamson has made centuries in five of his last seven Tests against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England and Australia, and aggregating 1118 runs at 111.80 during that period.
Taylor was a little uncertain at the crease at the start of his innings and flirted with disaster on a couple of occasions, but recovered to post his 13th Test hundred and looked increasingly comfortable during his innings.
It was a welcome performance for the classy Taylor, who has been struggling with form for some time and had not scored a Test century since November last year.
In a game where records have been tumbled regularly, Taylor made the highest score by a visiting batsman at the WACA and also became the first New Zealander to score a Test double century against Australia.
Starc thrilled the home crowd with a 160.4 kilometres per hour (99.7 miles per hour) thunderbolt to Taylor before tea.
It was part of a fiery spell from the left-arm quick and the fourth-fastest delivery ever recorded, with Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar holding the record with 161.3 kph.
Australian duo Brett Lee and Shaun Tait both once clocked at 161.1 kph, and 1970s tearaway Jeff Thomson is the only other player recorded at over 160 kph. However, none of that group performed the feat in Test cricket.
Mitchell Johnson, Starc’s fellow paceman, moved into fourth on the all-time list of Australian Test wicket-takers when he removed Doug Bracewell late in the day to claim his 311th scalp, passing Brett Lee.
Australia did not help its cause with some dropped catches, while play was halted for 17 minutes early in the day by a malfunctioning sightscreen.
To see the full scorecard of this game, please click here.