Match Report:


Rampant Lyon achieves rare first as Aussies surge to victory

Off-spinner's 10-wicket bag caps tremendous all-round performance that condemns NZ to 172-run defeat

Kiwis crumble on fourth morning to hand Aussies 1-0 series lead

In a career that has seen myriad highlights and multiple milestones, Nathan Lyon snared a rare first in a dominant morning that delivered Australia a thumping 172-run win in the opening Test against New Zealand.

In completing his 24th five-wicket haul in Tests which was soon followed by his fifth bag of 10 scalps in a single match, Lyon became the first recorded case of a men's player achieving those bowling milestones in addition to top-scoring for his team.

The Black Caps had entered day four at Basin Reserve 3-111 and with faint hopes of challenging the distant 369 needed for a first Test win over their near neighbours since 2010, but they were summarily squashed by Australia's champion off-spinner inside an hour.

A change of ends delivered a brutal shift in fortunes, as Lyon snared 3-0 in the space of eight deliveries with all three wickets – Rachin Ravindra, Ton Blundell and Glenn Phillips – identified as the major batting hopes in any NZ resurgence.

It was left to Daryl Mitchell to forge futile resistance as the home team surrendered 7-85 off 17.1 overs in a devastating two-hour session that ensures Australia retain the trans-Tasman Trophy heading to the second and final Test of the Qantas Tour at Christchurch starting on Friday.

Lyon finished the match, in which his 41 batting at number four as a nightwatchman in Australia's second innings added to his allrounder status, having secured a five-for in every Test nation where he's bowled, with the exception being UAE where Pakistan played their home Tests for a couple of decades.

With a flukey nor-westerly greeting players on cloudy Sunday morning, Lyon began his day's work from the northern end having bowled exclusively from the opposite end across the first three days.

But when the breeze swung to the south half an hour into the morning, the 36-year-old reverted to familiar territory and similarly altered the game's trajectory.

New Zealand's last specialist batting pair Ravindra and Mitchell had appeared unfussed in adding 15 runs from the day's first six overs, with the latter even emboldened to pull out a reverse sweep from the fourth delivery Lyon sent down.

Having been identified by his Australia off-spin rival as a budding "superstar" at the close of day three, Ravindra looked to be living up to his billing with his judicious assessment of length enabling him to regularly find runs off the back foot when Lyon dropped marginally short.

However, just as Lyon had identified and exploited a weakness in ex-NZ skipper Kane Williamson's technique the previous evening, he had a clear plan to Ravindra that delivered results just three balls into his spell from the southern end.

With fielders stationed at point and backward point, Lyon effectively dared the 24-year-old young gun to keep backing himself with the cut shot on a pitch where exaggerated bounce had proved the downfall of many a batter.

And when left-handed Ravindra rocked back but failed to get over a delivery that bounced above bail height and found the top edge of his horizontal bat, Cameron Green accepted the straightforward chance as the batter threw his head back in disbelief.

In contrast, Lyon punched triumphantly having outwitted another Black Caps batting mainstay and Australis were into the lower-order where keeper-batter Blundell (who scored a century as an opener in the 2019 Boxing Day Test) and first-innings top-scorer Phillips loomed as last remaining threats.

Both potential stumbling blocks were removed in the space of seven Lyon deliveries to leave NZ in disarray and the sell-out crowd that had cheered every run after this morning's resumption suddenly mute in despairing disbelief.

Blundell fell as he had in the first innings – albeit playing from the crease as opposed to darting down the track – when he fended gingerly at a ball that bounced appreciably, grazed the inside edge of his bat before thudding into thigh pad before looping lazily to Travis Head at short leg.

If the Black Caps were to somehow defy history and logic by posting their highest fourth-innings score against their historic foes and pushing for a first Test win over Australia on their home turf since 1993, it was up to Phillips and Mitchell to get them most of the way there.

So when Phillips – who had excelled with bat and ball across the first three days – played back and missed a ball from Lyon that spun past the bat and trapped him so palpably lbw he barely waited for umpire Marais Erasmus's decision, the game was ostensibly done.

Belatedly realising he was his team's final hope, Phillips halted his walk to the dressing room after a few steps and almost apologetically asked for a review of the call in the vain hope some Sunday morning act of God might prevail upon him.

But even before ball-tracking technology confirmed he'd simply failed to lay bat on a ball that was destined to hit leg stump, the allrounder had resumed his trek and was crossing the boundary when the verdict was aired.

Scott Kuggeleijn enjoyed his best moments of a largely forgettable Test recall with an enterprising 26 from 28 deliveries before player of the match Cameron Green's first foray with the ball ended the counter-punch courtesy of another ball that flew from back of a length.

At 7-164 and still more than 200 runs from their notional target after barely an hour's batting, the only legitimate question was whether NZ could push their innings past Sunday lunch.

That was answered in the negative when Matt Henry – after a series of hefty blows against Green that saw him replaced by Josh Hazlewood – edged to second slip.

Lyon applied the penultimate rites, with deflated NZ skipper Tim Southee holing out to long-on to complete his 10-wicket haul for the match, before Mitchell was last man dismissed aiming a final act of defiance that brought a symbolically tame return catch for Hazlewood.

Qantas Tour of New Zealand

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February 29 – March 4: Australia win the first Test by 172 runs

March 8-12: Second Test, Christchurch, 9am AEDT

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc

New Zealand Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O'Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.