Starc's Four-Leaves For New Zealand In The Disorder > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Starc's four-for leaves New Zealand in disarray

Mitchell Starc got the key wicket of Kane Williamson.

Mitchell Starc got the key wicket of Kane Williamson.

The Pink ball darting around in the lights can be a difficult proposition for the batsmen. Incidentally, the pink ball has a PU based coat, and it seems to shoot faster off the wicket. As the lacquer doesn't come off easily, the ball will remain new for longer periods. There are a few factors that could indirectly help the pink ball to swing under lights for longer periods as well. And to make matters worse, some batsmen have complained of not being able to spot the ball during the twilight.

So, when New Zealand's openers Jeet Raval and Tom Latham walked out to bat in the final session of Day 2 of the Perth Test versus Australia, they had an uphill task on their hands. It wasn't just the conditions, as they also had to counter three tall fast bowlers on a surface offering some bounce. In addition, the hosts have Nathan Lyon, who is renowned for imparting overspin.

Latham and Raval didn't last long, as the visitors slid to 1 for 2. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor then did the repair job with a stand of 75. However, at the fag end of the day, Mitchell Starc removed Williamson, Henry Nicholls and the nightwatchman Neil Wagner to leave the tourists in disarray at 109 for 5, still behind by 307.

For Australia, Starc was the star of the show in the final session. He bowled with pace, swung a few and also got it zip through the surface to leave the opposition batsmen searching for answers. Latham was the first one to fall, closing the bat face too early and spooning a simple return catch back to Starc. Josh Hazlewood joined in the act by generating appreciable inswing to castle Raval.

However, there was bad news for Australia, as Hazlewood while bowling his second over was laid low by a hamstring problem and had to walk back. Pat Cummins took over, as he and Starc continued to put Williamson and Taylor under plenty of pressure. Taylor, in particular, seemed to be struggling to pick the ball. To capsulise the point, in the sixth over, Cummins got one to lift awkwardly at Taylor, with the veteran somehow fending it off his gloves behind square on the on-side.

Cummins also troubled Williamson and could have sent the New Zealand captain back to the hut. In the ninth over, Cummins got one to hold its line and it seemed to have taken a faint outside edge on its way to the 'keeper. Tim Paine, however, didn't take the review. The RTS then confirmed that Williamson had eked out a faint edge.

Once the two mainstays of the visiting side's batting order paddled through the testing spells of Starc and Cummins, they looked in decent touch. Occasionally, Matthew Wade, the part-time medium pacer, found a hint of away-swing to trouble Taylor. However, the seasoned campaigner decided to take on the aggressive route against Nathan Lyon's off-spin, driving and lofting the spinner to the boundary boards.

At 77 for 2, the pair seemed set to take the tourists to stumps, only for Steven Smith to pluck a sensational one-handed blinder off Starc in the slip cordon to send Williamson back to the hut. Starc followed it up by removing Henry Nicholls and the nightwatchman Neil Wagner to make it a perfect day for the home team. On the other hand, Taylor showed exemplary grit to get through tough phases and remained unbeaten on 66.

Earlier, when the Day 2 commenced, Marnus Labuschagne (143) looked set to convert his hundred into a double. However, against the run of play, the New Zealand workhorse, Wagner, castled Labuschagne. It was a just reward for Wagner's efforts, who bowled close to 90 minutes unchanged in the first session. Travis Head (56), at the other end, looked tentative while facing Wagner's short deliveries. The southpaw, though, didn't miss out on taking advantage of loose deliveries as he punched, glanced and drove his way to another Test fifty.

Unfortunately, once again Head failed to convert a start into a Test century as he drove a full and wide delivery from Southee straight into the hands of the fielder stationed at short extra-cover. Paine and Starc then added vital runs in the second session to push Australia past the 400-run mark.

Starc, who replaced Cummins at the crease, decided to up the ante by slog sweeping Raval and Mitchell Santner through midwicket. To make matters worse for the visitors, Raval dropped a chance at mid-on off Southee. The veteran pacer, though, had the last laugh, as Starc mishit a lofted shot in the 145th over with Williamson pouching a well-judged catch. Wagner and Southee picked up the last two wickets to fall on the brink of tea. The pace duo, who bowled some incisive spells under severe heat, shared four spoils each.

Brief scores: Australia 416 (Marnus Labuschagne 143, Travis Head 56; Neil Wagner 4-77, Tim Southee 4-93) lead New Zealand 109/5 (Ross Taylor 66*; Mitchell Starc 4-31) by 307 runs

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