WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s chances of avoiding defeat in the first test ebbed away as Adam Voges completed a double century on Sunday and Australia’s bowlers claimed important wickets in the final session of day three.
At stumps New Zealand was 178-4 in its second innings, still trailing Australia by 201 runs after starting its second innings 379 runs in deficit.
Henry Nicholls, in his first test, was 31 not out at stumps but New Zealand lost Brendon McCullum (10), in his 100th test, to the last ball of the day’s play.
Tom Latham (63), Martin Guptill (45) and Kane Williamson (22) all made decent contributions but none went on to make the big score required if the hosts were to stymie Australia’s victory push.
Voges was the last man out in Australian’s first innings of 562, caught and bowled by off-spinner Mark Craig 15 minutes before lunch. By that time, it had been 1,115 minutes and 614 runs since he was last dismissed in a test match.
Voges innings, the third-highest by an Australian batsman in New Zealand, followed his unbeaten 269 and 106 in tests against the West Indies in December. His average after 14 tests is 97.46, vindicating Australia’s decision to hand him a test debut last year at age 35.
The average from 19 innings is the second-highest by a batsman in tests behind Don Bradman’s famous 99.94 in 80 innings and ahead of Sid Barnes’ 63.05, also from 19 innings.
By the end of his innings, Voges’ teammates were calling him Sir Voges a reference to the knighted Bradman but the veteran was taking it in his stride.
“It took me a long time to get to test cricket and I just want to try and make every innings count,” he said. “I’m hungry to keep scoring runs and get as many as possible.
“A year ago (I) probably didn’t think I’d be here to be honest. It’s not going to last forever so I’ll enjoy it while I can.”
Voges 614 runs between dismissals broke the record held by former India great Sachin Tendulkar.
“You don’t play the game for records,” Voges said. “You play it for wins and we’re in a good position and maybe I can sit back at the end of my career and have a look at that. But we’re in a good position and that’s the main thing.”
Voges’ innings lasted 504 minutes, comprised 364 balls and included 30 fours and three sixes, infuriating New Zealand players because Voges was bowled when on 7, only for the umpire to incorrectly call no ball.
Voges went on to add 232 more runs in partnerships of 168 for the fourth wicket with Usman Khawaja (140), 96 for the sixth wicket with Peter Nevill (32), 99 for the seventh wicket with Peter Siddle (49) and in small but productive partnerships with Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and last man Jackson Bird.
New Zealand made a solid start with a partnership of 81 for the first wicket between Guptill and Latham, its best against Australia since 1993. But the loss of Guptill and Williamson put it again on the back foot and when Latham and McCullum fell before stumps, hopes of avoiding defeat all but vanished.