Australia needed only a session and a half Monday to complete victory over New Zealand by an innings and 52 runs in the first cricket test which was built on a double century by Adam Voges and gave it a 1-0 lead in the two-test series.
An Australian win had been all but inevitable when, thanks to Voges’ 239, it scored 562 in its first innings in reply to New Zealand’s 183 for a 379-run lead.
New Zealand started the fourth day still 201 runs behind at 178-4, having been stung by the loss of its captain Brendon McCullum in the last over before stumps Sunday, and its innings continued a steady deterioration until it was all out for 327.
Mark Craig and Tim Southee then shared a 59-run partnership for the ninth wicket. Southee made 48 from 23 balls with five fours and three sixes but tried once too often to go over the top off Nathan Lyon and was caught on the boundary.
Craig, who top-scored in the first innings with 41 not out, was left 33 not out. Lyon took 4-91 and Mitch Marsh 3-73.
Headstart in first innings
Australia owed its impregnable position at the end of the first innings to Adam Voges’ 239 and Usman Khawaja’s 140 which provided the basis of their massive total. It was also favoured by winning the toss and bowling first on a green pitch.
“We exploited the conditions well on that first morning,” Australian captain Steve Smith said. “We hit good areas and then I think we battled quite hard with the bat.
“We were under a little bit of pressure early and I thought the partnership between Khawaja and Voges was spot on and they played out of their skins to get a hundred and two hundred respectively.”
Adam Vogues' record
Voges scored his second double century in tests and his third century in consecutive test innings to build his batting average in his 14th test to 97.46. Only Don Bradman who retired with a test average of 99.94, has a higher average than Voges whose innings at the Basin Reserve followed his 269 not out and 106 not out against the West Indies in December.
The West Australian, who made his test debut last year aged 35, now has five test centuries since June. When he was the last man out in Australia’s innings, Voges had scored 614 runs and gone more than 1,100 minutes since his last test dismissal.
New Zealand began its second innings just before lunch on Sunday, facing a mountainous 379 run deficit and nearly three more days of play remaining.
An 81-run opening partnership between Tom Latham (63) and Martin Guptill (45) its best against Australia in 23 years gave New Zealand a solid start but New Zealand’s batsmen couldn’t sustain the long innings necessary to save the game.
Kane Williamson was out for 22 and when McCullum fell for 10 to the last ball of the third day the only conceivable outcome was an Australian win.
Nicholls battled for 3 hours, 5 minutes for his 59 before he was bowled by Jackson Bird, giving the lanky paceman playing his first test in almost three years his first wicket of the match.
Southee and Trent Boult (12) resorted to some big hitting at the end but they did little to reduce the magnitude of Australia’s win or the confidence the tourists will take into the second test which starts in Christchurch on Thursday.
McCullum, who played his 100th consecutive test in Wellington and will retire after his 101st in Christchurch, said New Zealand struggled to recover after slumping to 51-5 in the game’s opening session.
“I thought the guys fought pretty hard throughout but we were outplayed by a better team and we weren’t able to get back into the match after that first morning,” he said. “I thought the way that Usman and Adam both played on a wicket that still had a little bit in it batted us out of the game.”