Glenn Phillips takes 5-45 as New Zealand bowl out Australia and chase 369 in 1st Test

Glenn Phillips’ maiden five-wicket haul comprised the dismissals of Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh and Alex Carey.

New Zealand’s Glenn Phillips celebrates his five wickets.(AFP)

Part-time off-spinner Glenn Phillips took 5-45 as New Zealand bowled out Australia for 164 in its second innings Saturday on the third day of the first cricket test. Phillips’ maiden five-wicket total comprised the wickets of Usman Khawaja (28), first-innings century-maker Cameron Green (34), Travis Head (29), Mitch Marsh for a first-ball duck and Alex Carey (3). Matt Henry took 3-36 as Australia was bowled in less than four hours.

Australia still increased its overall lead to 368 after leading by 204 on the first innings. At stumps New Zealand was 111-3 and 257 runs behind. Rachin Ravindra reached a half century from 77 balls just before stumps and was 56 not out at the close of play and Daryl Mitchell was 12

Australia struck a major blow when it dismissed Kane Williamson for 9 in the last session. Williamson fell to Nathan Lyon, the off-spinner who likely holds the key to the match.

After being run out for 0 in the first innings, Williamson was caught by Steve Smith at leg slip from a ball that bounced more than he expected. Smith moved to first slip and caught Will Young (15) off Head as New Zealand’s hopes of winning began to melt away.

Ravindra revived those hopes a little before stumps with his first half century in his first match against Australia. The only previous time he passed 50 in his test career, he made 240.

A New Zealand win remained unlikely and of the three possible results still in play an Australia win is most probable. A draw also looms as a possibility as rain is forecast for most of the fourth day.

New Zealand’s highest successful fourth-innings run chase in New Zealand is 324 and the current target would represent the 10th-highest successful chase in the history of test cricket. Still, Phillips’ incredible contribution in the middle session when four of his five wickets fell helped save some face for New Zealand after it was bowled out for 179 in reply to Australia’s 383.

New Zealand captain Tim Southee threw the ball to Phillips as his first spin option of the second innings. New Zealand didn’t take a specialist spinner into the match but relied on Ravindra who took 1-24 in the first innings.

Southee then backed Phillips who bowled his 16 overs without a break.

“It’s a dream come true absolutely,” Phillips said. “Tim (Southee) is an incredible captain and he really gives me the confidence to go out there and stick to my plan and also gives you the chance to be able to miss every now and then. As a spinner you really need that.

“The bowling unit today really stuck to the things we wanted to stick to. Partnership bowling all the way.”

Phillips has a reputation in the New Zealand team as a player who can make things happen in all three formats: a hard-hitting middle-order batsman, an athletic fielder and now as a serious bowling option. He had taken only 11 wickets in his five previous tests with a best of 4-53.

When Green became his fifth victim, brilliantly caught by Will Young under the helmet at short leg, Phillips set off on a long, jubilant run around the Basin Reserve, finally ending the Henry’s arms.

“I’ve got a six-year-old daughter and any celebration a six-year-old girl would do, that’s probably me,” Phillips said. “I’ve never really thought what to do if I got a five-for but the emotion, the way the crowd went up. It was just an unbelievable moment.”

Phillips acknowledged New Zealand’s chance of winning the test is slight but happy to able to give his team a chance.

“I understand we’ve got to combat the situations that are out there,” he said. “Obviously there’s a bit of turn so it’s a matter of how we go about combating (Nathan) Lyon. The way their big fast bowlers bowl as well is going to be a challenge.

“I definitely think we’ve got the time on our hands to be able to pull this off.”

Australia resumed Saturday at 13-2 after losing Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne late on the second day. Nathan Lyon was once again a useful nightwatchman and he made 41 before he fell in the first session and Khawaja also was out stumped before lunch.


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