Australia pull off sensational fourth-innings chase to edge past New Zealand in Second Test

Chris Robinson & Ben McKay
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Pat Cummins and Alex Carey celebrate their win.
Pat Cummins and Alex Carey celebrate their win. Credit: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Alex Carey and Mitch Marsh have steered Australia to a famous victory, with the visitors chasing down 279 to stun New Zealand.

Carey struck an unbeaten 98 and was brilliantly supported by Marsh (80) as the pair guided the Aussies out of trouble on day four in Christchurch.

Hope appeared lost in the tourists’ chase of 279 after Travis Head departed early in the day, leaving them reeling at 5-80.

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But a 140-run stand for the sixth wicket turned the match on its head before Player of the Match Carey and skipper Pat Cummins (32 not out) held their nerve late.

The victory gives Australia a 2-0 series win in what will be their final Test before December.

Carey and Cummins embraced in the middle after the captain scored the winning runs with a boundary at point.

Cummins’ presence to the end evoked memories of the first Ashes Test last year, when Australia chased 283 at Edgbaston in a series-defining moment.

While Australia’s fight must be applauded, the Hagley Oval win was more of a bits-and-pieces victory after several batting failures.

On a nervy day on the South Island, the Kiwi bowlers were unable to cash in when play began after an hour-long rain delay.

Nine wickets in the first three days suggested Matt Henry would be the dangerman, but instead Tim Southee was causing the most trouble.

Marsh and Head both offered up their wickets in Southee’s first over of the day, both cutting straight to point a ball apart.

Rachin Ravindra dropped a dolly to give Marsh a reprieve and a run, but Will Young made no mistake when Head offered a carbon-copy shot for a left-hander on the next delivery.

Alex Carey of Australia celebrates his half century.
Alex Carey of Australia celebrates his half century. Credit: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Ravindra’s blunder was a reminder of the gulf in fielding skill: the Black Caps dropped nine chances across the two Tests.

Carey joined Marsh in the middle and the pair set about the chase at pace.

Australia had two full days to reel in their target, but the new ball after 80 overs loomed large given the threat of the Kiwi seamers.

Their century stand wasn’t chanceless: Marsh almost played on from Southee’s bowling, and Carey fell on the right side of two reviews.

The South Australian kicked on, raising his bat for a half-century in the second last over before lunch.

Thanks mainly to the expensive Scott Kuggeleijn - costing his side 10 byes in one over - Australia scored 62 in the last 10 overs before the main break.

Sears struck in his first over after lunch, removing Marsh lbw and Starc out caught at square leg, beaten for pace.

Under lights, Glenn Phillips, Southee and Henry all probed in their hopes of an eighth wicket, but couldn’t find the next breakthrough.

The win is just Australia’s second of 16 chases - along with Edgbaston - over 200 since they last won at Hagley Oval in 2016.

It also confirms Australia’s mental stranglehold over New Zealand.

Not since 1993 have the Black Caps beaten Australia on home soil, a run that has kept the Trans-Tasman Trophy in Australia’s hands for the last 30 years.

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