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Umpire Nigel Llong robs New Zealand of a famous victory in Adelaide

Hazlewood's meticulous consistency earned him the Man of the Match award (Photo Courtesy: ABC Sports)
Hazlewood’s meticulous consistency earned him the Man of the Match award (Photo Courtesy: ABC Sports)

Day-night Test cricket got off to a resounding start as Australia secured a thrilling victory over the Blackcaps on the 3rd day of the final Test in Adelaide to seal the series 2-0. However, the match could have veered in a completely different direction had 3rd umpire Nigel Llong not committed an atrocious howler last night.

Apart from the series result, New Zealand’s unbeaten Test series run of over 2 years was also at stake. But, the killer blow was dealt yesterday when Llong’s incorrect decision had dented New Zealand’s hopes of procuring a sizeable lead. (Read what happened here:

Despite putting up a gallant fight all through the encounter, the Kiwis fell short by a narrow margin as the Australian batsmen managed to chase 187 to complete a tense win and end the visitors’ impressive streak.

Resuming on 116/5, New Zealand lost wicket-keeper batsman BJ Watling in the 2nd over of the day. Skipper Smith who had dropped the pugnacious right-hander last night held on to a diving catch off a full delivery from Josh Hazlewood.

Mitchell Santner continued to impress with his unassuming batting as he formed a useful partnership with off-spinner Mark Craig. But, Hazlewood struck again when Craig misjudged the length and played away from his body. His 5-wicket haul reduced the Blackcaps to 140/7.

Santner’s enterprising innings ended after he unsuccessfully tried to loft Nathan Lyon over the boundary. As he saw the batsman dance down the track, the wily spinner flummoxed him with a faster ball.

Realizing the need for quick runs, Doug Bracewell threw caution to the wind and smashed a 40-ball 27. However, he was left stranded as the other tail-enders could not match his durability.

David Warner led Australia’s reply by giving a frenetic start to the chase. Despite Joe Burns’ early dismissal, the Australian top-order sustained the scoring rate and applied significant pressure on Brendon McCullum to reconsider his tactics. But, Warner’s blitz did not last long as he edged Bracewell to 2nd slip.

Even though Smith survived a dropped chance, he could not make it count after being trapped in front by a vicious in-swinger from Trent Boult. Australia were tottering at 66/3 when Shaun Marsh arrived at the crease.

Demonstrating patience and defiance, Marsh batted with authority to whittle away at the target. When Adam Voges fell, he was joined by his younger brother Mitchell. It was a proud moment for former opening batsmen Geoff Marsh to see his sons batting together for the first time in a Test match.

And, they did not disappoint him. They added 46 runs between them to place Australia on the brink. Even though the New Zealand seamers picked up a flurry of wickets to cause a stir, the hosts reached the target with 3 wickets in hand to emerge unscathed.

But, the biggest takeaway was the reception that the match received proving that day-night Tests are here to stay. The rousing contest attracted massive crowds and dispelled any concerns regarding the feasibility of the pink-ball which stayed constant throughout the closely fought tussle.

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