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Bird's five-fer puts Australia on brink of series victory

Bird's five-fer put Australia on brink of series victory
Jackson Bird (left) was instrumental for Australia with the second new ball.
©REUTERS / Action Images

New Zealand 370 & 335 (Williamson 97) v
Australia 505 & 70-1 (Burns 27no)
Second Test, Christchurch, day four

Jackson Bird registered his maiden five-wicket haul to end New Zealand's resistance in the second innings after which Australia scored 70 for one at stumps on day four needing another 131 runs to win the second Test in Christchurch.

New Zealand resumed the day at 121 for four trailing Australia by 14 runs. In the second over of the day, Kane Williamson (97) brought up his fifty off 117 deliveries.

A couple of overs later, Williamson was given out lbw by umpire Ranmore Martinesz off Josh Hazlewood (1-92).

However, the decision was reversed after the replays showed a clear inside edge. Courtesy successful use of Decision Review System by the New Zealand vice-captain.

Australian bowlers troubled the duo throughout the first session with a lot of deliveries going past the bat.

In an eventful 52nd over from James Pattinson (4-77), Corey Anderson (40) survived an unsuccessful review for lbw from Australia. A couple of deliveries later he was handed a reprieve by Mitchell Marsh (0-49) at gully.

Australia's fielding woes continued as Joe Burns failed to hold on to a tough catch at short leg of Williamson. Pattinson again the unlucky bowler.

Williamson brought the 50-run stand with Anderson in the 56th over as New Zealand extended their lead to 25.

With back-to-back boundaries off Bird (5-59) in the 57th over, Williamson went to 75. In the 67th over, Williamson was given another chance when Peter Nevill failed to come forward to a dying ball which came off the outside edge.

There was more drama in the final over of the first session bowled by Hazlewood when an lbw decision against Williamson was turned down by the umpire.

A convinced Australian side went for a review straightaway but to their disbelief the third umpire Richard Illingworth rushed to a not out decision upon spotting a faint mark on the bat, even though further replays showed the bat might have actually hit the ground than the ball.

New Zealand ended the session at 197 for four after adding 76 runs in it without losing a wicket and taking a lead of 62 runs.

Five overs into the second session the pair brought the much needed 100-run stand which came in 247 deliveries.

Bird provided the much needed breakthrough for Australia after Anderson dragged one on to the stumps ending the 102-run stand with Williamson.

The new ball straightaway paid dividends as Bird dismissed Williamson and Tim Southee (0) in a span of three deliveries and New Zealand were reduced to 210 for seven.

Just when Australia were in a touching distance to wrap up the New Zealand innings, BJ Watling (46) added 118 runs with Matt Henry (66) to take New Zealand past the 300-run mark.

New Zealand headed into tea at 311 for seven with Watling and Henry at the crease and with a lead of 176 runs.

Henry raced past Watling and reached his fifty off 75 deliveries after scoring nine boundaries.

However, Pattinson had Watling caught at square leg four runs short of a deserving half-century, while a couple of overs later Bird castled Henry to complete his five-wicket haul.

New Zealand were eventually dismissed for 335 in 111.1 overs setting a target of 201 for Australia.

Bird was the pick of the Australian bowlers with a five-wicket haul while Pattinson was impressive with four wickets to his name as well.

In the chase, David Warner (22) and Burns (27 not out) looked aggressive after scoring four boundaries in the first three overs.

The 49-run opening stand ended when Warner nicked one down the leg side to Watling off Neil Wagner (1-13) in the 13th over.

Khawaja (19 not out) and Burns ensured Australia ended the day without losing any more wickets with an unbeaten 21-run stand.

At stumps on day four, Australia were positioned at 70 for one needing another 131 runs to complete a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in series which will help them reclaim the pole position in the ICC Test rankings.

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