All results are still on the table in this Test – quite remarkably, considering where we were on Day 1 – and it will be an intriguing Day 4 to see just which result becomes most likely…
Evening session :: Australia 2/258from 63 overs (S.Smith 131*, A.Voges 101*; T.Southee 13-3-40-1) and 9 dec/559 at STUMPS, lead New Zealand 624 by 193 runs.
- Easy going for the Australians, with Smith and Voges both raising important centuries as the lead builds with a late flourish, but isn’t anywhere near enough to declare overnight. NZ managed to slow the game down in the last hour – ridiculously and obviously so, at times – and it has worked to a degree. I’m sure Australia would’ve preferred a lead closer to 250 tonight, than 200.
- Smith’s 12th Test century (right) in 140 balls (13×4)
- Voges’ second Test ton in 180 balls (15×4)
- All eyes tomorrow will be on Smith, and just when he declares. Australia will definitely need a bigger lead – 300+ would be my guess – but they also need to give themselves enough time to take ten wickets. And that might be difficult, given the way they’ve bowled in this Test..
Afternoon session :: Australia 2/128 (S.Smith 63*, A.Voges 43*; T.Southee 7-1-28-1) and 9 dec/559 at Tea, lead New Zealand 624 by 63 runs.
- Fast Australian runs were the focus, as the Test sets itself up for a result one way or the other. Joe Burns went first over after lunch, caught by Ross Taylor at first slip off Tim Southee for a duck, and just as David Warner and Stephen Smith looked like they were getting away, Trent Boult (right) had Warner caught at cover for 24, with the score 2/46.
- Around 20 minutes before Tea, Australia had a lead, and Smith and Adam Voges built their partnership nicely, and pushed the lead to 63 at Tea. They’ve added 82* for the third wicket so far, and loom as the key wickets now for NZ.
- Smith’s 50 in 57 balls (8×4), but he’s slowed up since then significantly, adding 11 from his next 20 balls by the interval. Smith needs to go big in this innings; must lead from the front..
Morning session :: Australia 0/0 and 9 dec/559 at Lunch, trail New Zealand 624 (R.Taylor 290, K.Williamson 166; M.Starc 37-7-119-4) by 65 runs.
- Australian wickets was the tale of the morning, bowling New Zealand out for 624 in the end, with Mitchell Starc (right) again the pick, and Mitchell Johnson again seemingly lacking pace, and amid plenty of speculation around that his retirement talk might be more than just talk even as soon as the end of this Test.
- Ross Taylor was superb again, going past Brian Lara (277, Sydney 1992) as the highest score by a visiting player on Australian soil. But he got some great support at the end from Trent Boult (24*) who again shows he’s in the process of writing a new textbook. Taylor was out caught by sub Jonathan Wells in the deep, off Nathan Lyon, for 290 to close the NZ innings. And no Australian players thought he deserved a handshake out on the field
- Joe Burns saw out the one over the Australians had to face before Lunch. Steve Smith is padded up, with Usman Khawaja’s ability to bat in this innings still not clear.