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NZ pace duo of Sears, Henry unleashes chaos on Australia top-order, leaves Smith & co. in disarray in tricky 279 chase

New Zealand’s Ben Sears, Matt Henry ripped apart Australia’s top order in their 279-run chase.

With Australia’s top order collapsing in their second innings on Day 3, New Zealand looked poised to win the second Test match in Christchurch. The visitors won the first Test in the ongoing two-match series, but New Zealand will be looking to end it as a tie.

New Zealand’s Ben Sears celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia’s Cam Green.(AP)

Day 3 began with Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell stitching a strong partnership, as both of them got fifties. Scott Kuggeleijn hammered a solid 44-run knock as New Zealand posted 372 in their second innings. Chasing 279, Australia had a massive top order collapse as openers Usman Khawaja (11) and Marnus Labuschagne (6) departed early. Meanwhile, no. 3 batter Cameron Green also only managed to register five off 21 balls, before losing his wicket.

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The visitors managed to reach 77/4 at Stumps and will be aiming for a revival on Day 4. Travis Head (17*) and Mitchell Marsh (27*) remained unbeaten for Australia.

It was Smith, who fell first. Receiving a straight delivery from Matt Henry, Smith was pinned right in front with no bat involved. UltraEdge confirmed it and ball-tracking showed it was hitting the top of middle as the veteran had to depart cheaply, also taking away one of his side’s reviews.

Then, Labuschagne lost his wicket to Ben Sears, who sent a good length delivery. The right-handed batter ended up lobbing it back to the bowler for a followthrough catch. Smith’s opening partner Khawaja failed to stabilise Australia’s innings, going back to the pavilion in the 12th over. Receiving a length delivery from Henry, inwards to off, Khawaja outside edged it to Tim Southee to the left of third slip.

Meanwhile, Green got a good length delivery from Sears, with some extra bounce. Green decided to leave it, but it was late as the ball hit the off stump!

On Day 4, Tim Southee and Co. will walk onto the field with an advantage. But Australia have Marsh and Head in the pitch, who are born match-winners. An early partnership between the two will bring Australia back into the game. Meanwhile, New Zealand will be seeking early wickets.


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