Lyon stars as Australia crush Kiwis; India jump to top spot in WTC standings

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon, right, celebrates with wicketkeeper Alex Carey after dismissing Rachin Ravindra being . Photo: AFP/Marty Melville

Spinner Nathan Lyon took 6/65 as Australia dismissed New Zealand for 196 early on the fourth day of the first Test at Wellington's Basin Reserve on Sunday to win the match by an emphatic 172 runs and go 1-0 up in the series.

New Zealand had started the day on 111/3 chasing a daunting target of 369, but Lyon sent back Rachin Ravindra for 59 and also removed Tom Blundell and Glenn Phillips inside the first hour to claim his 24th Test five-wicket haul.

Daryl Mitchell and Scott Kuggeleijn offered some resistance for the seventh wicket, but all-rounder Cameron Green, whose 174 not out with the bat in the first innings was instrumental to Australia's success, dismissed the latter for 26.

Mitchell batted on to make 38 despite taking a blow to the helmet from a Green delivery but ran out of partners as the New Zealand tail folded up in the face of Lyon and the rest of the Australian attack.

"It was a really good game, we never felt we were that far in front on that wicket, but overall really happy," said Australiam captain Pat Cummins.

"Thankfully it spun which, with Nathan in our side, is always a pretty good thing."

The defeat leaves New Zealand with only one win in 24 Tests against their neighbours this century ahead of the second and final match in the series in Christchurch starting on Friday.

New Zealand slipped to second behind India in the World Test Championship standings following the loss. India have a winning percentage of 64.58 as opposed to the Black Caps' 60. Australia are in third place with a winning percentage of 59.09.

"Like every game, we'll reflect and look at ways that we can be better in the next one," said New Zealand skipper Tim Southee.

"We'll debrief and obviously move to a different ground, a different surface, a ground we've had a lot of success at."

Although Lyon will be lauded for his 10/108 over the match, there was little doubt that Green's brilliant knock in a 10th-wicket partnership of 116 runs with Josh Hazlewood set the platform for the victory.

"He was amazing, he was really the difference in the end," Cummins said of Green, who was named Player of the Match.

"I think the next high score was about 50 or 60 and he's obviously put on 170 odd not out, so it was amazing. I thought the way he went about it as well, that intent really put the pressure back on the bowlers."

Green's innings enabled Australia to post a tally of 383 and take 204-run first innings lead that New Zealand were always going to struggle to claw back on what was a difficult batting surface.

Despite being dismissed for 179 in their first innings, the Black Caps stormed back on day three when part-time spinner Phillips took 5/45 to help bowl out the tourists for 164.

Phillips's success only had Australians licking their lips at what Lyon, a far more experienced and accomplished slow bowler, could do on the same track.

Lyon needed a change of ends to really hit his mark on Sunday but once he did, the 36-year-old tore the heart out of the New Zealand batting order.

It was Hazlewood who hammered the final nail into New Zealand's coffin, however, the ever-reliable paceman sending down a steepling delivery that Mitchell only managed to spoon back to him for the simplest of caught-and-bowled dismissals.

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