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Cricket: Black Caps bowlers under pump

Adam Voges is applauded from the field at stumps on the second day of the first test. Photo / Getty
Adam Voges is applauded from the field at stumps on the second day of the first test. Photo / Getty

Australia's batting, led by century-makers Adam Voges and Usman Khawaja, dominated the second day of the first test against New Zealand as the visitors eased to 463 for six and a 280-run lead.

The New Zealand bowlers must have felt like they had been sent on a fool's errand toiling against the wide Australian bats. A pitch which had offered so much for the Australian bowlers on the opening day, suddenly morphed into a baked batting paradise for their New Zealand counterparts.

Peter Siddle was unbeaten on 29 and Voges was 176 not out, giving him the highest average (100.33) in test cricket for anyone to have played more than one innings.

He made the most of a reprieve on seven the previous evening when Doug Bracewell bowled him. The delivery was wrongly called no-ball by umpire Richard Illingworth.

New Zealand earned a respite in the fifth over with the second new ball - and 85th of the innings - when Trent Boult claimed two wickets.

Khawaja succumbed lbw for 140 off the first delivery. Incoming batsman Mitchell Marsh was then subject to a poor New Zealand lbw review to a ball which pitched outside leg stump and took the inside edge.

Such desperation was rewarded next ball when Boult conjured up a spectacular caught and bowled. He threw his right hand out in the follow-through and the ball stuck. The incident added to his bulging catalogue of classic catches.

A lugubrious crowd erupted as though they had mainlined a shot of adrenaline. For local fans, it was the day's highlight. Otherwise, the experience was consumed by Australians tanning cow hide to every conceivable outpost of the acreage.

That double strike was not enough to sustain any momentum as Voges and Peter Nevill farmed a sixth-wicket partnership of 96 to take the score to 395.

New Zealand bowling coach Dimitri Mascarenhas said they couldn't capitalise.

"We got a couple of wickets with it [the second new ball]. We went past the bat a few times but there are some pretty good players out there and they stonewalled. Once they got in, they didn't really look like getting out unless they made a mistake.

"We can see how flat the wicket has become. We're not getting a lot of movement, so hopefully that'll be the same for the Aussie boys when they bowl on it."

Khawaja and Voges' 168-run fourth-wicket partnership moved Australia into what seemed an insurmountable position.

They exercised patience, trusted the wicket to flatten, and reaped the rewards. New Zealand will need to muster the same concentration powers in the third innings, as they did in 2014 and 2015 against India and Sri Lanka at the same ground.

They were dismissed for 221 (against Sri Lanka) and 192 (against India) but responded with declarations of 524-5 and 680-8 to win and draw those respective matches.

A loss in Wellington would scupper the chance of a series win.

Khawaja was untroubled for most of his fourth test century. He has scored 644 runs at 128.80 in six test innings this summer.

BJ Watling missed a catch and stumping when the No 3 was on 34. The only other time he looked concerned was a seven-ball period on 99. He also negotiated a Mark Craig lbw review on 104 when the ball hit him in the box as he swept. The DRS suggested the ball would have grazed his leg stump, which left the decision with the on-field umpire.

Khawaja gave the Australian bowlers every chance of taking further wickets, despite the state of the pitch.

"The wicket felt decent but if you put the ball in the right spot... there is still enough in this deck to create chances."



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- NZ Herald

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