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Australia win Boxing Day Test against New Zealand, gain unassailable 2-0 lead in series

Having won the first Test as well, Australia have now taken an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series with the last Test to be played in Sydney.

SNS | New Delhi |

Australia defeated New Zealand in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by 247 runs during the last session’s play of the fourth day.

Having won the first Test as well, the hosts have now taken an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series with the last Test to be played in Sydney from January 3 next year.

Chasing a target of 488, the Kiwis lost wickets at regular intervals and the first three wickets were gone within a paltry score of 35. Captain Kane Williamson continued his patchy phase as he got out for a duck. Veteran batsman Ross Taylor was also ineffective as he was sent packing for 2.

Tom Blundell, though, was the only positive drawback for the visitors as batted throughout the fourth innings to score a brilliant century. Lack of support and determination cost them the match as no other batters showed the intent to stick around with Blundell who played a 121-run knock in 210 deliveries.

Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling, with 33 and 22 respectively, provided some resistance but it proved all too late as Nathan Lyon ripped the Blackcaps’ middle-order apart with the wickets of Nicholls, Watling, Collin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner, who put up a fighting 27 off 46 deliveries. The spinner returned with the figure of 4/81.

James Pattinson was the second-most fruitful bowler for Australia as he earned the numbers 3/35 in the 12 overs he bowled. They bundled New Zealand within 55 overs to register another home series victory.

Earlier on day 4, the home team had batted for some time after resuming from their overnight score of 137/4. Matthew Wade and first innings’ centurion Travis Head were at the crease and added another 31 runs to their board. Paine asked New Williamson & Co. to bat after Head got out at 28.

After posting 467 in their first innings, Australia had dismissed New Zealand for 148. On the first day, riding on half-centuries from Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne (63), Australia had ended Day 1 with the scoreline of 257 for 4.

However, the former was sent back to the pavilion early on the second day for 85. In the course of it, skipper Tim Paine had scored 79 and Head scored the second century of his Test career before losing their wickets to Neil Wagner. Head played a scintillating knock of 114 runs.

Having lost two quick wickets at the stumps on day 2, New Zealand didn’t survive long on the third day as well with a world-class pace barrage from Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc destroying their middle order. The pace trio took all the wickets with Cummins (5/28) leading from the front. While Pattinson took 3/34, Starc returned with 2/30.