Review farce scuttles Kiwis' chances

ADELAIDE • Paceman Josh Hazlewood stepped up in the absence of injured spearhead Mitchell Starc to give Australia a sniff of victory within three days after a farcical third umpire decision stole New Zealand's momentum during the third cricket Test yesterday.

Hazlewood shone under the floodlights of Adelaide Oval with a miserly 3-32 and New Zealand slumped to 116-5 at the close of a roller-coaster day two, hounded by the hooping pink ball in the inaugural day-night Test.

The Black Caps clung to a 94-run lead after 13 wickets tumbled, adding to the 12 that fell on the opening day. But their hopes of a series-levelling victory looked fraught as darkness descended.

It was a far different scenario earlier in the day as their bowlers dominated in the sunshine and Australia crashed to 118-8 in reply to 202.

But third umpire Nigel Llong made a howling intervention, thumbing his nose at the decision review technology that strongly suggested Australia's Nathan Lyon had nicked a catch to the slips from a bungled sweep shot.

A ball from spinner Mitchell Santner had ricocheted off Lyon's upper arm and, though field umpire Sundaram Ravi waved the appeal away, the "Hot Spot" technology showed a mark on his bat.

That was enough for Lyon to begin walking back to the pavilion, but "Snicko" showed no audio evidence and Llong dithered before declaring the batsman not out.

"The players were pretty confident that it was out," New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor said. "It's (the decision) had a big bearing on the match."

It triggered a momentum shift as Lyon and wicket-keeper Peter Nevill plundered the bowlers.

Australia's innings finally ended on 224. But the last two wickets added 108 and condemned New Zealand's batsmen to defend in the most perilous evening session.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 29, 2015, with the headline 'Review farce scuttles Kiwis' chances'. Print Edition | Subscribe