Mon, Nov 16, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Willamson, Starc hit milestones in New Zealand chase

AFP, PERTH, Australia

New Zealand’s Ross Taylor raises his bat after scoring a double century against Australia in the third day of the Test in Perth, Australia, yesterday.

Photo: AP

New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson and Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc yesterday joined elite company as bat continued to dominate ball on the third day of the second Test against Australia at the WACA Ground.

In reply to Australia’s formidable 559-9 declared on a placid wicket, New Zealand were 510-6 at stumps, trailing by just 49 runs.

Ross Taylor had emerged from a form slump and scored his second Test double century to be a career-best 235 not out, with Mark Craig on seven.

Williamson became one of the four youngest players to reach 12 Test centuries when he made 166, while Starc bowled what is believed to be the fastest recorded delivery in Test cricket.

Williamson rarely looked troubled in posting his second century in as many matches, before mistiming a pull shot off Josh Hazlewood and was caught at mid-on by Mitchell Johnson to end a record 265-run stand with Taylor, a new benchmark for New Zealand in Tests against Australia.

He faced 250 balls in 390 minutes and hit 24 boundaries.

The 25-year-old made 140 and 59 in the first Test at the Gabba, which New Zealand lost by 208 runs, and continued that form in Perth.

It was his 12th Test century and only three other players have scored as many centuries at the same age: Sachin Tendulkar (16); Don Bradman (13); and Alastair Cook (12).

Williamson has made centuries in five of his last seven Tests against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England and Australia, and in that time he has scored 1,118 runs at 111.80.

Taylor was a little less sure at the crease and flirted with disaster on a couple of occasions, but recovered to post his 13th Test hundred and looked increasingly comfortable during his innings.

It was a welcome performance for the classy Taylor, who has been struggling with form for some time and had not scored a Test century since November last year.

In a game where records have been tumbling with incredible regularity, Taylor posted a new benchmark for visiting players at the WACA and also became the first New Zealand cricketer to score a Test double century against Australia.

Starc raised the home crowd from its run-fueled stupor when he sent down a 160.4kph thunderbolt to Taylor before tea.

It was part of a fiery spell from the left-armer and was the fourth-fastest delivery ever recorded, with Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar holding the record at 161.3kph.

Australia duo Brett Lee and Shaun Tait both once clocked at 161.1kph, and 1970s firebrand Jeff Thomson is the only other player recorded at more than 160kph.

However, none of that group performed the feat in Test cricket.

Fellow paceman Mitchell Johnson moved into fourth on the all-time list of Australian Test wicket-takers when he removed Doug Bracewell late in the day to claim his 311th scalp, passing Brett Lee.

Australia did not help their own cause with some dropped catches, while there was embarrassment for local officials early in the day, with play halted for 17 minutes by a malfunctioning sight screen.

INDIA VS SOUTH AFRICA

Reuters, BANGALORE, India

Steady rain yesterday washed out the entire second day’s play in the second Test between India and South Africa, with the weather forecast for the next two days casting a cloud of doubt over the possibility of a result.

Having bowled out South Africa for 214 and knocking off 80 runs without losing any wicket on Saturday, the hosts were keen on putting up a big first innings total, but the inclement weather played spoilsport.

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