NZ leads Australia by 176 runs at tea on day 4, 2nd test
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) B.J.Watling and Matt Henry combined in an unbroken 100-run partnership for the eighth wicket to keep New Zealand's hopes alive on the fourth day of the second cricket test against Australia on Tuesday.
Watling was 46 not out and Henry had his highest test score of 45 at tea as New Zealand led Australia by 176 runs after starting the day 14 runs behind.
The eighth-wicket pair managed to allay the threat of the second new ball and help New Zealand build enough of a lead that the match will likely be extended into a fifth day.
Australia won the first test by an innings and 52 runs and needs only a draw to win the two-match series and supplant India as the top-ranked test nation.
While no wickets fell in the first session Tuesday, it was packed with drama as New Zealand fought to stay in the match. James Pattinson made life difficult for the batsmen, finding reverse swing that brought the ball sharply back at the right-handed Kane Williamson and carried it away from the left-handed Corey Anderson.
With New Zealand one run from erasing the overnight deficit, Williamson, on 54, was adjudged lbw to Pattinson but had the decision reversed when television replays showed he had edged the ball onto his pad.
Then, minutes before lunch, Australia again appealed for an lbw decision against Williamson and the umpire again ruled the batsman not out. Replays showed Williamson had hit the ball onto his toe.
Frustrated by the unsuccessful appeals, emotions boiled over and Australia captain Steve Smith and bowler Josh Hazlewood angrily debated the calls with Sri Lanka umpire Ranmore Martinesz.
The visitors recovered, though, when recalled paceman Jackson Bird, who had taken only three wickets in 43.4 overs in three previous innings in the series, took three wickets within nine balls to end a stubborn 102-run partnership between Williamson and Anderson.
Bird took one wicket in his last over with the old ball, bowling Anderson for 40, and then bowled Williamson for 97 in his first over with the new ball, denying the New Zealander his 14th test century and his ninth in the last 12 months.
Bird also dismissed Tim Southee for a duck two balls later to further break down New Zealand's resistance, leaving the hosts with a lead of only 75 runs.