SYDNEY, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Australia’s bowlers struck twice in three deliveries to break New Zealand’s early resistance and leave the tourists on 141 for three at lunch on the third day of the third test on Sunday, still trailing their hosts by 313 runs.
The Black Caps, looking for at least a draw to avoid a 3-0 series sweep, resumed on 63 without loss in reply to Australia’s 454, but were only able to add five runs to that tally before opener Tom Blundell was bowled through his legs by Nathan Lyon.
Blundell departed without adding to his overnight score of 34 but stand-in captain Tom Latham and Jeet Raval put together a partnership of 49 to keep their hosts at bay.
Raval, dropped from the second test after a miserable run of form and also affected by the flu bug that ruled regular captain Kane Williamson and two other players out of the match, hit a bright 31 before he too fell victim to Lyon.
The off-spinner beat the batsman’s inside edge with a fullish delivery and although Raval referred it to the third umpire, there was no evidence in the TV replays to reverse the lbw decision.
Latham made his exit three deliveries later for 49 when he lamely chipped a Pat Cummins delivery straight to Mitchell Starc at mid-on.
Ross Taylor, who was unbeaten on 21, and Glenn Phillips, will resume after lunch.
Phillips (3 not out) is making his test debut after being rushed over from New Zealand on the eve of the test as cover for Williamson and the other sick batsman, Henry Nicholls.
Conditions were much cooler than Saturday’s second day but there was a distinct smell of smoke in the air from the bushfires that have been raging around Sydney for the last couple of months.
Australia’s Matthew Wade passed a concussion test on Sunday morning after taking a blow to the helmet from a Tom Latham shot late on Saturday.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Kim Coghill