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World Test Championship

Starc, Lyon combine to hand Australia series lead

Aus vs NZ, 1st Test, Day 4, report

Australia wrapped up a comprehensive 296-run win over New Zealand on the fourth day of the Perth Test, going 1-0 up in the three-match series.

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Mitchell Starc finished the game with a nine-wicket haul and bagged the Player of the Match award as Australia took the remaining five wickets after tea for 17 runs.

Earlier, Australia declared their second innings at 217/9 in the first session of the day, adding 50 runs to their overnight score of 167/6. Neil Wagner bagged the first breakthrough, claiming Pat Cummins’ wicket with a short-pitched leg-side  delivery that found an edge to the keeper.

After playing more than 50 balls for his 17, Matthew Wade pulled one down to square leg. With wickets falling quickly, Mitchell Starc, at No.9, gave the innings a late flourish with a 21-ball 23, before becoming the final wicket to fall. An injured Josh Hazlewood did not come out to bat, giving New Zealand a target of 468 runs.

Pursuing a massive total, Jeet Raval was dismissed for a 21-ball 1, identical to his first innings score, falling to a short-pitched delivery on his body that induced an edge to point. Kane Williamson became Lyon's first wicket, off the off-spinner's very first ball of the day, as the Kiwi captain glanced one straight to short-leg.

Ross Taylor targetted Nathan Lyon with his trademark leg-side swipes, but fell to a pacy short-pitched delivery by Starc that carried an edge to the ‘keeper. Nathan Lyon struck right after, nailing Tom Latham on the back foot, with a review reversing Aleem Dar’s on-field decision. It left New Zealand at 57/4, still more than 400 runs adrift of Australia’s tally.

At the stroke of tea, Lyon struck again, sending back Henry Nicholls for a 54-ball 21, becoming the third wicket to fall in the session.

Colin de Grandhomme then dug in along with BJ Watling to kickstart a mini-rescue operation. De Grandhomme stuck the second delivery after tea for a six, but then steadied himself around the ever-defiant Watling. The two brought down the deficit to under 400, forging together a 56-run stand.

Australia ended the fightback with three wickets in three overs as Cummins and Starc employed short-pitched deliveries to good effect.

Mitchell Starc stuck to his short-pitched plan to Neil Wagner, which resulted in a six to third man off an edge, but the bowler banged the next one short to bring the hosts a wicket away from a win. The injured Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee managed to bring the deficit below 300, but Lyon was brought back to claim his fourth wicket, ending the innings on 171, and wrapping up a big win for Australia.

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