45th over: New Zealand 119-5 (Watling 27, de Grandhomme 13) Some chaos to begin, de Grandhomme losing the ball after dealing with a biting short one. Leaving his ground, Wade races in and tries to back-heel the ball onto the stumps. Fair to say it was no Mo Salah from yesterday… what a ridiculous goal that was. They both were.
44th over: New Zealand 117-5 (Watling 27, de Grandhomme 12) It was Smith’s fault that they didn’t review the caught behind off Lyon in the previous over, insistent that it was pad not bat, the stump mic reveals. Watling is far more assured against him this time around, blunting the spin time and again off the front foot.
43rd over: New Zealand 116-5 (Watling 27, de Grandhomme 11) How is it possible that Cummins has one wicket in this match? In a way, I wish he had none so it could beat McGrath’s effort at Melbourne in 2000, which I have previously written of as being the best pair of none-fas in Test Cricket. This time around he smacks CDG on the thigh pad early in the over before nearly hitting him in the helmet with an accurate short one. The big boy keeps his cool though, steering a square drive out to deep point for three. In doing so, he brings up his 1000th run in Test cricket. With a batting average above 40 and a bowling mark under 30, he’s a legitimate Test all-rounder.
42nd over: New Zealand 113-5 (Watling 27, de Grandhomme 8) For once, Paine doesn’t review… on a delivery that found the edge and was out! A lovely piece of bowling from Lyon who had Watling on the front foot, lunging. Paine took it expertly and appealed. But when the decision didn’t go his way, he didn’t send it upstairs. Dear me.
41st over: New Zealand 108-5 (Watling 23, de Grandhomme 7) Cummins hasn’t picked up a wicket today but could easily run through this New Zealand lower order. He gets an early look at de Grandhomme and beats his inside edge, before finding it with his next delivery. Watling does well to clip a couple to finish. It’s on.
40th over: New Zealand 104-5 (Watling 20, de Grandhomme 6) And second ball, de Grandhomme HITS LYON FOR SIX! As you do. Dance, swing, connect. Over long-on, have that.
The players are back on the field. There are 35.2 overs left on this fourth day, which will take Australia the full 150 minutes. Then an extra half an hour at their disposal to finish the match tonight, which can be taken by the umpires if they see fit. Lyon to de Grandhomme, the new man, to complete his successful over. PLAY!
TEA! WICKET! Nicholls c Head b Lyon 21 (New Zealand 98-5)
That’s out. Nicholls was a long way forward and ball did hit his pad, but it flicked the back of his bat too before looping to Head. The South Australian did really well to get his right hand under it at silly point. A classic off-spinners’ wicket. Lyon has three. And that’s tea.
NICHOLLS GIVEN OUT CAUGHT AT SILLY POINT! He’s reviewing it.
39th over: New Zealand 97-4 (Nicholls 21, Watling 19) Labuschagne around the wicket to Nicholls, as wide of the crease is is legal. Paine and co continue to work him over for not generating much spin but he might not need to if he can land it in the footmarks there for him courtesy of at Pat Cummins. Not so on this occasion, the left-hander taking a couple to cover then two more off his pads. One over to go.
38th over: New Zealand 93-4 (Nicholls 17, Watling 19) Nathan Lyon is back for a brief burst before tea and it’s a lovely over too, Watling having to deal with tons of turn then one that doesn’t spin – possibly hitting a crack? – beating his outside edge with a lot of bounce. When Lyon has his tail up late in a Test match he’s such a different bowler.
37th over: New Zealand 93-4 (Nicholls 17, Watling 19) This pair have done well to calm things down across this fourth hour. As Ian Smith says on telly, the job is to now get this to a fifth day. They are going to lose, sure, but if they can make Cummins and Starc work tomorrow in the heat instead of resting, that’s not completely for nothing.
36th over: New Zealand 92-4 (Nicholls 17, Watling 18) Paine is having a lot of fun out there, comparing Labuschagne’s over to Kerry O’Keeffe on the basis of how little legspin he was generating. Now they have turned the stump mics up to head his commentary on Head’s fresh over. Nicholls shows a bit more purpose at him this time, coming down the track to clip – albeit not that convincingly – through midwicket for a couple. That’s the second time they’ve had an over of stump mics only without the captain saying an awful lot.
35th over: New Zealand 89-4 (Nicholls 15, Watling 17) Marnus to join Head as the other part-time spin option Paine has at his disposal. As Hussey says on commentary, it’s clever captaincy as it gives his two fast bowlers a chance to get a longer rest before they are called upon in the final session for what will be a 150-minute shift. A good over, too; Labuschagne’s leggies are dealt with respectfully by Watling.
34th over: New Zealand 86-4 (Nicholls 14, Watling 15) “Ooh! Tim May!” Paine likes Head’s turn an awful lot, comparing him to the fine South Australian offie. Fair enough too when beating Nicholls’ bat a couple of times this over with deliveries that rip a long way. Like it.
33rd over: New Zealand 86-4 (Nicholls 14, Watling 15) Watling’s turn for the Cummins interrogation and he’s up to the task, ducking when he can, playing with soft hands when he must. Fine batting. Surely, in the Perth heat, this spell won’t last that many more overs?
32nd over: New Zealand 86-4 (Nicholls 14, Watling 15) Head on for his first bowl this Test summer. Speaking of nicknames: “Get us one here, Empty.” Good work from the captain. Not a bad over either from the part-timer who was probably a bit more than a part-timer a few years ago when he was a regular in the ODI team, finding his length by the end of the over and skidding onto Nicholls pad from around the wicket with his final ball. There’s a big shout – and it is going on to hit the stumps – but there’s a big inside edge, too.
31st over: New Zealand 82-4 (Nicholls 11, Watling 14) More of the same, Cummins hammering in wide of the crease, making life tough every ball. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” says Vaughan of the big quick when they break his action into a slow-motion video.
30th over: New Zealand 81-4 (Nicholls 10, Watling 14) Well, that backfired on the host broadcaster. They decided to turn the stump mics up for the Lyon over and go silent on commentary. But after the first ball was driven off the back foot for four – a lovely shot by Watling – the Australians didn’t say anything for the duration.
29th over: New Zealand 77-4 (Nicholls 10, Watling 10) It’s a crime that Cummins hasn’t a wicket to his name in this session. He’s been magnificent. Much as it was that afternoon in Manchester when he could not have bowled any better, his colleagues cleaning Englnd up at the other end. This time around, he does find Nicholls edge – a genuine one too – but due to the pitch, it doesn’t carry.
Mark Waugh is still very grumpy that Starc didn’t play more in the Ashes. “He woulda knocked over Jack Leach.” Everyone seen this?
28th over: New Zealand 75-4 (Nicholls 8, Watling 10) Lyon is very close to Nicholls’ off-stump first up with one that goes straight on and misses everything. Quality cat and mouse contest between these two, the spinner mixing up his pace but on the same good length.
27th over: New Zealand 74-4 (Nicholls 7, Watling 10) As we see so often after a blow to the head with the next delivery, it directed outside the off-stump and wafted at. To be fair, it did plenty. There’s a lot going on out there now. Watling does well to defend the last couple with a nice, straight blade. Gutsy batting.
“Morning all.” Morning, David Kalucy. “Loving the contest and the day night element. Though it may not be traditional it is definitely a Test and that’s the point really, plus the poor cousins in Europe get to “watch” in real time.”
I must admit, there couldn’t be a better week for me to get used to watching/OBOing this Australian team from London than a Perth day-nighter. Most civilised. Less so when we get to the MCG and Sydney Tests, as I broke to my very-pregnant girlfriend last night.
Oh, and not traditional, you say? ‘Tis the season…
Phwoooooar! Off a length and off a crack, Cummins seams back into the grille of Watling’s helmet. He’s fine, immediately giving the thumbs up. But that’s brutal. We saw last year at the Casino Stadium that this pitch can really go up and down later and it certainly is here. Nothing strictly wrong with that, by the way. “He’ll fight,” Vaughan says of Watling, as they bring out a new helmet for him. There is a long delay as the doctors go through their assessments.
26th over: New Zealand 70-4 (Nicholls 7, Watling 6) Lyon is too short to Nicholls early and the left-hander makes no mistake, crunching a pull shot into the gap. He’s right back on it after that, bringing the batsman forward with ample flight. For what little it is worth, the requirement for New Zealand is now under 400. Did I hear a new nickname for Starc before drinks, by the way? Let’s keep on that.
Six to go. A pretty simple equation for Australia after yet another productive hour. If you go back to the first innings at Adelaide, Lyon was having a tough time of it. Now, after a couple of excellent spells, both to finish the Pakistan series and here against New Zealand, he looks every chance to do a lot of damage here. He’s a Confidence Man, make no mistake. You know the drill: let’s chat.
25th over: New Zealand 66-4 (Nicholls 3, Watling 6) Starc’s up-down bowling continues: twice he bowls too far onto the pads. Nicholls flicks him for three, Watling for four. Then an over-correction lets Watling drive through cover for two. Nine from the over. I don’t think Australia will be sweating it much.
Drinks break. I’m out, Adam Collins will be driving you home. If The Cars were wondering.
24th over: New Zealand 57-4 (Nicholls 0, Watling 0) A wicket-maiden for Lyon, with Watling now joining Nicholls. This match could be over today.
New Zealand still trail by 411 runs.
Wicket! Latham lbw Lyon 22 (NZ 57-4)
Lyon to Latham, and keeps tying him in knots. Latham hangs on the back foot while trying to play across the line. Lyon doesn’t turn that one much, and it angles in from around the wicket and hits Latham on the back leg. Latham knows he’s in trouble, looking up at Aleem Dar, who says not out. It’s not a bad call, because that ball could be angling down leg. The Australians aren’t convinced and take a long time to review. But eventually with a shrug Tim Paine decides to have a look, and the tracking shows full impact on leg stump. Latham’s trial is over.
23rd over: New Zealand 57-3 (Latham 18, Nicholls 0) Starc is up to seven wickets in the match. Henry Nicholls the next in, who’s been in good touch recently in Test cricket.
Wicket! Taylor c Paine b Starc 22 (NZ 57-3)
The short ball plan! It worked for New Zealand, now it’s working for Australia. Mitchell Starc again, he’s unstoppable in this match. Starc telegraphs his mode of attack with his field. Taylor wants to take him on. Nails a pull shot that deserves four but Wade fields it brilliantly at midwicket to stop any run. Then Taylor tries again, premeditated, against a ball that doesn’t get up and is angling across him, and can only nick it outside his off stump. Poor shot, good plan.
22nd over: New Zealand 57-2 (Latham 18, Taylor 22) Lyon is due for a wicket before long. Latham tries a huge swat at him, just gets a bottom edge into his pads. Lyon gets another ball to leap, and Latham fends it away for a single behind point. Then Ross Taylor tries a reverse sweep, with a slip in position, and bottom-edges it into the ground.
21st over: New Zealand 55-2 (Latham 17, Taylor 21) Mitchell Starc on to replace Cummins. This is the peril of the three-man bowling attack. New Zealand have survived Cummins’ brilliant spell, though it was short. They’ll have one from Starc, then perhaps another few Cummins overs. After that, Australia will have to go to Labuschagne or Wade or even David Warner to partner Lyon. From there, life becomes more possible for NZ.
Starc can’t do what Cummins did though: he gets too full to Taylor, who clouts a bottom-handed cover drive for four, then a more controlled one for three. Then the wrong line to Latham, who can work a brace and then a single off the pads.
20th over: New Zealand 49-2 (Latham 14, Taylor 18) Latham is suddenly a cat on a hot tin roof against Lyon. Comes down to try to get to the pitch and nearly gets stumped, having to half fall over to kick the ball away. Nearly endures a raucous appeal for leg before but Latham got an edge on it. Then Lyon bowls a gimme, short and wide, and Latham isn’t clear enough in his mind to hit it properly, only limping it away to point for a dot ball. Watch this space.
19th over: New Zealand 49-2 (Latham 14, Taylor 18) Cummins won’t quit. Gets a full over at Taylor, seven balls in fact with a bouncer wided for height. Taylor scores two with a leg-side push, but aside from that Cummins is around his outside edge non-stop.
18th over: New Zealand 46-2 (Latham 14, Taylor 16) Is Paine calling Lyon by ‘Gareth’ now? Can’t keep up. “He wasn’t gonna play that Gazza,” trills Paine as Ross Taylor lunges late to smother a ball outside off. Taylor responds by taking a knee to wallop Lyon through square leg for four. Deep backward square goes in front of square in the deep. Taylor reaches well outside off stump to drag a sweep shot to that man for a single.
17th over: New Zealand 41-2 (Latham 14, Taylor 11) Cummins keeps asking questions, targeting Latham’s inside edge to force defence to the on side, then outside edge to defend to gully. A bouncer makes Latham dip under it, a full ball takes an inside edge into pad. Then back to his natural length and it just beats the outside edge! What a spell this is.
16th over: New Zealand 41-2 (Latham 14, Taylor 11) Lyon getting the ball to jump and turn into Taylor as it did to dismiss Williamson. It is truly impressive just how many nicknames Tim Paine can get through for Lyon in a single over. Goat, Gazza, Garry, Nath, Goaty, Gaz, Gazbo, Lyno. Ever encouraging, and even when Taylor clouts a one-bounce four into a vacant midwicket, Paine says “Oh yes, love that Gaz!”
15th over: New Zealand 35-2 (Latham 13, Taylor 6) Cummins bowled a perfect over last time, and this one’s pretty good as well. Moving the ball just a little bit both ways, never far from the stumps. Tries Taylor with a shorter one, and gets a glove on the pull, but it lands safely for a run.
14th over: New Zealand 34-2 (Latham 13, Taylor 5) Latham may get away from Cummins for three balls, but now he has Lyon for six. The off-spinner has a ball skipping on nicely with the arm from around the wicket to the lefty, just past off stump. Latham defends most of the over, then cuts two when Lyon gets too short.
13th over: New Zealand 32-2 (Latham 11, Taylor 5) Cummins with the ball after the break, and he wastes no time against Latham. First beats the outside edge and flicks a bit of trouser fabric on the way through. An umpire could easily mishear that and pull the trigger, but Nigel Llong gets it right. Then again, as Cummins cuts the ball sharply back into Latham and hits him in front of middle, but going over with the bounce. Not out. Latham manages to escape the examination with an inside edge to midwicket.
Lunch – New Zealand trail by 437 with 8 wickets in hand
The result from here should be a formality, it’s just a question of how hard New Zealand can fight. With Australia a bowler down the batsmen are still a chance of making life difficult for the Aussies, but they haven’t done it yet. Two NZ wickets fell in that session after three Australians were dismissed and the home team declared at nine down. A full session of daylight batting is yet to come, and Latham and Taylor have to make the most of it to bed themselves in.