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Australia Beats New Zealand by 52 Runs and an Innings

... ABC Online:

Australia has stormed to a comprehensive victory in the first Test against New Zealand, winning by an innings and 52 runs inside four days in Wellington.

The victory means Australia will hold on to the trans-Tasman trophy after maintaining dominance in the three-Test series at home in November.

While Monday's result was not entirely unexpected, the apparent ease with which it was accomplished was a bit surprising.

Heading into day four at the Basin Reserve, the tourists led by 201 runs and needed just six wickets to secure victory.

And, after ending day three by removing captain Brendon McCullum, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh (3 for 73) made the first breakthrough on what turned out to be the final day of the game when he produced a fine in-swinger to trap his opposite number, Corey Anderson, in front for a 22-ball duck.

The next nine overs yielded 29 runs as wicketkeeper BJ Watling helped debutant Henry Nicholls to become the first New Zealand number four to score a half-century in his maiden Test.

But Watling (10) was gone four overs later when he played back to a Nathan Lyon (4 for 91) delivery that turned too far, caught his inside edge and sent his bails flying.

Unfazed, Nicholls (59) continued to knuckle under and, despite falling seven overs later when Jackson Bird claimed his first scalp of the game by sneaking a ball between bat and pad to collect off stump, the 24-year-old has made a good case for a second cap even if veteran Ross Taylor returns from injury.

Doug Bracewell (14) and Mark Craig (33 not out) showed some resolve to reach lunch, but the former was gone in the first over after the break when Josh Hazlewood (2 for 75) had him out LBW with a delivery that Bracewell's review showed would have gone on to take the top of middle.

BJ Watling looks back at his wrecked castle

Striding to the crease with his team eight wickets down and needing an unrealistic 137 more runs to make Australia bat again, Tim Southee gave the Wellington faithful something to cheer about.

With Craig looking safe at the other end, the number 10 belted three sixes and five fours in quick succession and came within a few metres of the second-fastest Test half-century of all time.

Unfortunately, he tried one slog too many and sent his 23rd delivery to Usman Khawaja at long-on, ending an exciting knock on 48 and giving Lyon his seventh wicket of the match.

Trent Boult (12) added some ungainly boundaries of his own before stepping across his stumps and being clean bowled by Marsh, officially ending the Test.

Brief Scores: New Zealand: 183 and 327; Austalia: 562



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