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Bird, Pattinson put Australia on brink of victory

Pacers share nine wickets before batsmen take visiting side to 70 for 1 at stumps, needing 131 more to complete victory and achieve the ICC No.1 ranking in Tests

Bird, Pattinson put Australia on brink of victory
 - Cricket News
Williamson was bowled for 97, three short of what would have been his 14th Test century.
Jackson Bird (5 for 59) and James Pattinson (4 for 77) put Australia on the brink of sweeping the series in the second and final Test against New Zealand on Tuesday (February 23).

At stumps on the fourth day, Australia was 70 for 1, just 131 runs away from a win that will see it return to the No. 1 ranking in Test cricket. Joe Burns (27) and Usman Khawaja (19) were in the middle after David Warner fell for 22 in Australia's chase of 201.

Earlier, New Zealand's lower order showed remarkable resistance but Australia kept fighting through its pacers. Bird got his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests while Pattinson too kept chipping away to bowl out New Zealand for 335. 

New Zealand, who resumed the day on 121 for 4, fought valiantly through two century stands. Kane Williamson first added 102 runs for the fifth wicket with Corey Anderson, before BJ Watling and Matt Henry shared a 118-run stand for the eighth wicket.

The home side started in a smooth fashion with Williamson and Anderson displaying some stubborn batting. However, Bird triggered a turnaround by picking up three wickets, including the crucial ones of Williamson and Anderson, in nine balls.   
 
Anderson did well to occupy the crease for more than three hours but fell against the run of play, driving at a wide ball which he edged on to the stumps. Bird then struck twice with the new ball in his next over with the wickets of Williamson and Tim Southee. Williamson was bowled for 97, three short of what would have been his 14th Test century, while Southee fell for a duck.



The quick strikes left New Zealand in trouble at 210 for 7 but Watling and Henry counterattacked to give the bowlers something to work with. Henry hit 12 fours in his 66 while Watling too made a stroke-filled 46 to keep New Zealand in the hunt.
 
However, Bird and Pattinson combined to dismiss the final three New Zealand wickets for just seven runs. 

Australia lost Warner when he gloved Neil Wagner down legside to the wicketkeeper, but Burns and Khawaja ensured the visiting side didn't suffer any further damage.  

Burns had a reprieve when Wagner dropped a difficult chance at square-leg off Henry when on 19 while Khawaja was largely untroubled. 

Click here to view the full scorecard.

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