Australia win first test against New Zealand by 208 runs


Brisbane: Australia took the final seven wickets to dismiss New Zealand for 295 and win the first test by 208 runs before lunch on the final day on Monday, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum fought a thrilling rearguard with a run-a-ball 80 but once he departed when he was controversially caught behind, the writing was on the wall.

Doug Bracewell was dismissed lbw for a golden duck on the following delivery and although all-rounder Mitchell Marshfailed to secure the hat-trick, Tim Southee(5) departed two overs later. Trent Boult was the final batsman to fall, for 15, giving quick Mitchell Starc figures of 2-69. Off spinner Nathan Lyon finished with 3-63, while Marsh took 2-25.

The hosts made 556-4 declared in their first innings and declared again on 264-4 in their second, dismissing New Zealand for 317 in their first innings in between. Although New Zealand never looked like reaching their victory target of 504, the prospect of more wet weather and McCullum had kept alive their hopes of batting out the day for a draw.

Resuming on 142 for three, McCullum took the game to the Australian bowlers and scored a half century off 44 balls with seven fours and single straight six that took him to the milestone. The aggressive nature of his innings meant the righthander rode his luck at times but while he was firing at the crease, there was still a chance.

Ross Taylor (26) and the injured James Neesham (3) were dismissed at the other end but it was the departure of wicketkeeper BJ Watling for 14 that precipitated McCullum’s demise. Lyon’s lbw appeal was confirmed by technology but the use of New Zealand’s final review before the new ball to check the decision cost McCullum dear in the following over.

Marsh forced the batsman onto the back foot with a low delivery and although umpire Nigel Llong raised his finger in response to a loud appeal for caught behind, television replays suggested there had been no contact with McCullum’s bat. Neesham came out to bat at number six despite a back injury that New Zealand Cricket said would rule him out of the remainder of the tour, a second blow after Southee’s irritated disc prevented the paceman from bowling in the second innings.

Neesham’s wicket gave Mitchell Johnson his 310th test victim to bring him level with Brett Lee as Australia’s fourth most prolific wicket-taker in the five-day game. After Brisbane, the series moves on to Perth for the second match, which starts on Friday, before concluding with the first day/night test in Adelaide.



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