Starc stars for depleted Australia attack as Black Caps crumble to emphatic defeat

By Sports Desk December 15, 2019

Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon wrapped up a dominant victory for Australia as they took a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series with New Zealand, who crumbled to defeat by 296 runs.

The hosts controlled every facet of a hugely one-sided affair in Perth and went into day four of the day-night Test with a lead of 417.

Australia stretched that advantage to 467 before declaring, allowing Starc and Lyon to help orchestrate another batting collapse from the Black Caps.

Starc took five wickets as New Zealand were dismissed for 166 in the first innings, and he took his figures for the match to 9-97 with an instrumental performance, while Lyon claimed the key wicket of Kane Williamson in his 4-63.

Attention now turns to the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where New Zealand will need to rediscover the form with the bat they displayed in the recent series win over England to keep their hopes alive.

With no pressure on the Australia batsmen, wickets fell in short order and a declaration from Tim Paine arrived in the morning session on 217-9.

That swift decision paid dividends as New Zealand were two down by lunch, Jeet Raval's recent struggles continuing as he jabbed Starc to Lyon at point before Williamson was undone by the turn of Lyon and gloved to Matthew Wade.

Ross Taylor (22) and Tom Latham (18) provided a brief period of stability that was ended when they each went in the space of five balls. Taylor was caught behind off Starc trying to pull and Latham was given out lbw on review as Lyon struck him plumb on the pads.

Making up superbly for the absence of the injured Josh Hazlewood, Starc and Lyon continued to trade wickets. The spinner accounted for Henry Nicholls (21) to end his useful partnership of 41 with BJ Watling (40), who gloved man of the match Starc down leg, those dismissals separated by Pat Cummins getting in on the act to remove Colin de Grandhomme (33).

De Grandhomme and Watling had produced the most sustained show of defiance in their stand of 56, but the Black Caps' resistance was fleeting thereafter, as Starc and Cummins attacked the tail with a hostile approach built around the short ball.

Mitchell Santner, a centurion against England last month, went for a duck to Cummins, before Starc and Lyon removed Neil Wagner and Tim Southee respectively to round off a rout and leave New Zealand wondering how they can turn things around and claim a first series win in Australia since 1985.

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