Blackcaps v Australia: New Zealand eyeing historic test victory over world champions on fourth day at Christchurch

New Zealand are six wickets away from victory with a lead of 202 runs at the end of day three of the second test at Christchurch on Sunday, after grabbed the momentum from Australia with some late bowling fireworks.

Australia skipper Pat Cummins took 4/62 as the visitors, already 1-0 up in the two-match series after last week's victory at Wellington, dismissed the Blackcaps for 372 in their second innings after tea.

Home seamers Matt Henry and debutant Ben Sears went to work in a thrilling final 90 minutes of play, taking two wickets apiece to send back Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja and Cameron Green cheaply.

Tim Southee takes a crucial catch in the slips for the Blackcaps.
Tim Southee takes a crucial catch in the slips for the Blackcaps. Photo credit: Photosport

The Australians still managed to score at a fair pace and will resume on 77/4 with Mitch Marsh (27no) and Travis Head (17no) looking to cut deeper into their 279-run victory target.

The highest successful fourth-innings run chase in a test at Hagley Oval was the 285 New Zealand scored to beat Sri Lanka with a run on the final ball of a dramatic match last year.

"If you'd said at the start of the day that we'd have them four down still 200 runs behind, I think we would have taken that," said Blackcaps opener Tom Latham.

"The guys showed a lot of fight with the bat and we built a couple of key partnerships, which was great, and the guys did a great job tonight with the ball."

Several Blackcaps batters made good starts in their second innings, but none were able to convert into the sort of three-figure innings that would have taken the game away from the Australians.

Cummins was the first to strike in the morning, even if he needed a review to dislodge Latham caught behind for 73, with only 21 runs added to New Zealand's overnight tally of 134/2.

Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell then put on 123 for the fourth wicket, before an outside edge off a Josh Hazlewood delivery did for the latter with 58 runs to his name and New Zealand's lead at 184.

As he had to dismiss dangerman Kane Williamson in the last hour on day two, Cummins struck with the first ball of his next spell to remove Ravindra for 82.

Green then got in on the act with the first ball of his new spell by having Tom Blundell caught by Labuschagne at cover for nine to leave New Zealand on 296/6.

Labuschagne dropped Scott Kuggeleijn on two and the seamer made the Australians pay by putting on 53 runs for the seventh wicket with Glenn Phillips.

Phillips departed for 16, bowled by Nathan Lyon with the first ball of his new spell, but Kuggeleijn made 44, before the off spinner finally managed to winkle him out.

The last three wickets fell for the addition of only one run and New Zealand, chasing a first home win over their neighbours in 31 years, will perhaps rue not setting Australia a target in excess of 300 runs.

New Zealand 162 & 372 (Ravindra 82, Latham 73, Mitchell 58, Williamson 51; Cummins 4/62) Australia 256 & 77/4 (Marsh 27no; Henry 2/37, Sears 2/22)

New Zealand lead by 202 runs into day four


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