Australia win by 64 runs
A comeback win in the series for Australia, who take the score to 2-1 with two to play. The series stays alive.
A double-header loss for New Zealand, whose women’s team got smashed by England earlier today.
That’s a big loss in this match, they were really nowhere near it from the point when Williamson and Guptill were both dismissed early. It was Maxwell’s innings that took it away from New Zealand, when Australia were on track for a decent score but it became an imposing one. The ability to flip that switch and score 70 from 30 balls is a precious one.
From there, the chase was always a tall order for New Zealand. Meredith bowled with serious pace and accuracy to hamper them early, then Agar came back from conceding 12 from his first over, then took 6 for 18 from that point on.
Given the difficulty for most players in timing shots on this surface, you would guess that NZ would be keen to bat first in the remaining two matches after choosing not to today.
Both of those games will be played at the same venue in Wellington, so we’ll see how the surface holds up if indeed the same pitch is used. The fourth match is on Friday at 5pm Aus eastern daylight, and the final match is on Sunday from 2pm.
We’ll be here for both. Till then.
WICKET! Sodhi c & b K. Richardson 1 (2), NZ all out 144
WICKET! Jamieson lbw Agar 11 (9), NZ 138-9
WICKET! Chapman c Zampa b Agar 18 (10), NZ 138-8
WICKET! Southee c Maxwell b Agar 5 (6), NZ 116-7
WICKET! Neesham c Wade b Agar 0 (1), NZ 109-6
WICKET! Conway c Stoinis b Agar 38 (27), NZ 109-5
WICKET! Phllips c K. Richardson b Agar 13 (10), NZ 109-4
WICKET! Guptill c Agar b Zampa 43 (28), NZ 80-3
WICKET! Williamson lbw Meredith 9 (6), NZ 48-2
WICKET! Seifert c Stoinis b Meredith 4 (4), NZ 20-1
New Zealand must chase 209 to win
WICKET! Maxwell c Seifert b Southee 70 (30), Australia 194-4
WICKET! Finch c Jamieson b Sodhi 69 (44), Australia 153-3
Half-century! Aaron Finch 51 from 34 balls
WICKET! Philippe c Guptill b Sodhi 43 (27), Australia 902
WICKET! Wade c Guptill b Boult 5 (6), Australia 6-1
New Zealand win the toss and will bowl
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It has been six long days, almost an entire week, since the Stoinis and Sams show at Dunedin turned a routine New Zealand win into a thriller. (New Zealand still won.) The touring Australians are 2-0 down with three to play, so you can probably do the maths about the necessity of winning today in order to remain a chance of winning the series. For that to happen, some things will need to chance. Mostly that the players picked for their batting need to make some runs. Three wickets in an over in Dunedin, an early collapse of 4-19 in Christchurch before that, and lots of talk around Aaron Finch’s diminishing opportunities to find a score in this format and ease any doubts about him captaining the team to the T20 World Cup later this year.
One variable in the equation, and one thing that could perhaps reduce New Zealand’s home advantage, is that all three remaining matches will be played in Wellington. NZ’s minor virus outbreak means that moving around the country is not advised, thus they’ll stay put. It also means there will be no crowds in for the remaining games, so that will affect the players on the field. Whether a silent stadium will help the visiting team by levelling things up, or make it harder to find the required intensity, is entirely speculative. Reports from the first couple of games involved a lot of abuse coming over the fence, so at least there won’t be any more of that.
New Zealand will be forced to make one change, with all-rounder Mitchell Santner ruled out as a precaution due to some illness symptoms that have required a covid test, though he probably just has a cold. The only replacement options are Hamish Bennett, a seamer with no batting chops, or Mark Chapman, who bowls left-arm spin like Santner but in a much more part-time capacity while mostly being a batsman.
Australia will likely have a few changes. This was a double-header, too, with the NZ women’s side being thumped by England not long ago, bowled out for 96 which was chased easily.