WELLINGTON: Australian spinner Nathan Lyon (R) celebrates with wicket-keeper Alex Carey after dismissing New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra during the first Test at the Basin Reserve on Sunday.—AFP
WELLINGTON: Australian spinner Nathan Lyon (R) celebrates with wicket-keeper Alex Carey after dismissing New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra during the first Test at the Basin Reserve on Sunday.—AFP

WELLINGTON: Austr­alia captain Pat Cummins heaped praise on team-mates Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green on Sunday for match-winning performances as his side secured a 172-run triumph over New Zealand in the first Test.

Lyon spun the visitors to victory in the morning session on day four in Welli­ngton, taking six wickets as New Zealand crumbled to 196 all out.

New Zealand lost their last seven wickets before lunch for 70 runs, with four falling to off-spinner Lyon, who finished with figures of 6-65 off 27 overs and 10-108 in the match.

The 36-year-old capitalised on spin-friendly Basin Reserve conditions and some meek batting from New Zealand, who began the day on 111-3 needing an unlikely 258 more runs to win.

Green’s career-high unbeaten 174 on day one rescued Australia from 89-4, having been put into bat, to reach 383 and set up a decisive 204-run first-innings lead.

It gave Green the nod over Lyon as man-of-the-match and Cummins said that was a fair outcome.

“Cam was amazing, he was really the difference in the end,” Cummins said. “I thought the way he went about it, with that intent, really put the pressure back on the bowlers on day one. There was as much bounce as I’ve seen in any wicket for a long time but thankfully it spun which, with Nathan in our side, is always a pretty good thing.”

New Zealand pace bowler Will O’Rourke is a doubt for the second and final Test starting in Christchurch on Friday after leaving the field with a tight hamstring on day three.

Captain Tim Southee said he wouldn’t rule out a shock recall for veteran pace bowler Neil Wagner, who retired last week.

The 37-year-old had been named in New Zealand’s squad, but tearfully announced his retirement after being left out of the first Test side, ending a 64-Test, 260-wicket career.

Southee ruled out calling up Trent Boult because he has only been playing white ball cricket of late, but was less adamant when asked about Wagner.

“Obviously the Test match has only just finished so we’ll see how Will scrubs up and we’ll go from there,” Southee said.

Cummins said Australia would be prepared if Wagner returned.

“It’d be the world’s shortest retirement,” he said of the short-ball specialist. “It’d be good to see his high energy.”

Southee and batsman Kane Williamson will both play their 100th Test at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The defeat leaves New Zealand with only one win in 24 Tests against their neighbours this century.

“Like every game, we’ll reflect and look at ways that we can be better in the next one,” said Southee. “We’ll debrief and obviously move to a different ground, a different surface, a ground we’ve had a lot of success at.”

Southee hailed Glenn Phillips after the all-rounder top scored with 71 in the first innings and claimed career-best figures of 5-45 with his part-time off-spin as Australia were dismissed for 164 in the second.

“Glenn’s still new to Test cricket and new to bowling, and he’s doing a great job,” Southee said of the 27-year-old.

Phillips’s success only had Australians licking their lips at what Lyon, a far more experienced and accomplished slow bowler, could do on the same track.

Lyon needed a change of ends to really hit his mark on Sunday but once he did, the 36-year-old tore the heart out of the New Zealand batting order.

The capitulation began in the seventh over when Lyon claimed the key wicket of Rachin Ravindra for 59.

Ravindra had only added three to his overnight score when he failed to keep a cut shot down and was caught by Green at point.

Tom Blundell was caught close in by Travis Head without scoring in the same over and Glenn Phillips was trapped leg before by Lyon for one soon afterwards, to expose the tail.

Daryl Mitchell and Scott Kuggeleijn offered some resistance for the seventh wicket but Green dismissed the latter for 26, caught by wicket-keeper, Alex Carey and Matt Henry fell for 14, caught at slip by Steve Smith off Josh Hazlewood.

Southee became Lyon’s sixth victim before Hazlewood who hammered the final nail into New Zealand’s coffin, however, the ever-reliable paceman sending down a steepling delivery that Mitchell (38) only managed to spoon back to him for the simplest of caught-and-bowled dismissals.

SCOREBOARD

AUSTRALIA (1st Innings) 383 (C. Green 174 not out, M. Marsh 40; M. Henry 5-70)

NEW ZEALAND (1st innings) 179 (G. Phillips 71; M. Henry 42; N. Lyon 4-43) AUSTRALIA (2nd Innings) 164 (N. Lyon 41; G. Phillips 5-45, M. Henry 3-36) NEW ZEALAND (2nd Innings, overnight 111-3):

T. Latham c Carey b Lyon 8

W. Young c Smith b Head 15

K. Williamson c Smith b Lyon 9

R. Ravindra c Green b Lyon 59

D. Mitchell c and b Hazlewood 38

T. Blundell c Head b Lyon 0

G. Phillips lbw b Lyon 1

S. Kuggeleijn c Carey b Green 26

M. Henry c Smith b Hazlewood 14

T. Southee c Starc b Lyon 7

W. O’Rourke not out 0

EXTRAS (B-14, LB-2, NB-1, W-2) 19

TOTAL (all out, 64.4 overs) 196

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-15 (Latham), 2-35 (Williamson), 3-59 (Young), 4-126 (Ravindra), 5-126 (Blundell), 6-128 (Phillips), 7-164 (Kuggeleijn), 8-187 (Henry), 9-194 (Southee)

BOWLING: Starc 9-3-29-0 (1w), Hazlewood 9.4-2-20-2, Lyon 27-8-65-6, Cummins 12-1-40-0 (1nb), Head 4-1-10-1, Green 3-0-16-1 (1w)

RESULT: Australia won by 172 runs.

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Cameron Green

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2024

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