Australia on brink of being number one


Australia need just 131 more runs to become the number one Test side, finishing day four of the second Test against New Zealand on 70 for one, chasing 201 for victory in Christchurch.

Assuming Australia do chase the runs down, barring a dramatic collapse, they will win the series two nil and send Brendon McCullum into retirement on the back of a defeat. The Black Caps had been bowled out for 335, with Jackson Bird bagging his maiden five-fer.

It was a tense day, with not many runs scored in flurries, and was marred by a confrontation between umpire Ranmore Martinesz and Australia skipper Steve Smith, as well as paceman Josh Hazlewood.

Kane Williamson, who went on to make 97 off more than 200 balls, found himself struck on the pads just before lunch. Martinesz denied the LBW appeal, so Hazlewood and Smith sent it for review. Third umpire Richard Illingworth used Hot Spot and saw a mark on the bottom of the bat, and he felt there was a nick onto the pads.

Hazlewood can be heard on the stump mic asking 'who the f@$k' the third umpire is, while Smith also aggressively asked about the matter. They felt that the bat had hit the ground, not the ball.

As it was, Bird eventually bowled Williamson after lunch, and the paceman went on to take five wickets. Matt Henry was a major frustration for the Aussies though, making 66 with the tail.

But the Kiwis were eventually all out after tea, leaving the Aussies with 201 required and 20 overs to bat in the evening. The one wicket to fall was that of David Warner for 22, out to Neil Wagner.