Ravindra’s half-century keeps New Zealand in hunt against Australia

WELLINGTON   -  Rachin Ravindra scored an unbeaten half-century for New Zealand while chasing a mammoth 369 on day three of the first Test against Australia here on Saturday. 

Ravindra struck an eye-catching 56 not out as the home side reached 111-3 at stumps on day three, having stumbled early in their pursuit of a lofty 369 to win the opening match of the two-Test series. Daryl Mitchell was on 12, with the pair having put on 52 in 20.3 overs together to give New Zealand a glimmer of hope in difficult batting conditions. 

Lyon took 2-27 — aided by some bril­liant catching from Steve Smith — to give him six wickets for the match. Lyon shapes as a key figure in preventing New Zealand from scoring the remaining 258 runs they need on a Basin Reserve pitch taking turn and bounce. New Zealand part-time spin­ner Glenn Phillips earlier capitalised on the conditions, snaring career-best fig­ures of 5-45 as Australia were bundled out for 164 in their second innings. 

Ravindra, who scored 240 in the first Test against South Africa last month, de­fied Australia late in the day with a se­ries of aggressive strokes in his 94-ball knock. Mitchell was fortunate to survive an early stumping chance off Lyon, when the ball evaded the gloves of wicketkeep­er Alex Carey, with the charging batsman well out of his ground. 

Lyon was introduced in the sixth over of New Zealand’s innings and quickly removed opener Tom Latham before claiming the key wicket of Kane Wil­liamson when Smith pouched a sharp catch at leg slip.Smith’s second catch was even better, to remove Will Young for 15 off part-time spinner Travis Head, reacting quickly to a fine edge that went low and to his left. 

Earlier, Australia lost their last six wick­ets in the space of 13 overs, with Phillips producing the best figures by any New Zealand spinner on home soil in 18 years, complementing his 71 with the bat in New Zealand’s first innings of 179.Two wickets fell in the first session, with nightwatch­man Lyon departing for Australia’s top score of 41 and opener Usman Khawaja for 28 after they resumed at 13-2. 

First-innings centurion Cameron Green scored 34 and Travis Head 29 but the end of their 46-run partnership for the fifth wicket sparked a collapse.Head miscued Phillips to be caught at long-on before the spinner removed Mitchell Marsh and Alex Carey to close catchers and Henry bagged the last two wickets to finish with 3-36.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt