Australia in driver’s seat at the end of day 2

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Picture Courtsey: Hindustan Times

Thanks to brilliant knock by Tim Paine and Travis Head, Australia are in a commanding position at the end of day 2 of 2nd Test match played at Melbourne Cricket Ground, MCG on Friday.

Starting on the overnight score of 257 for 4, Steve Smith and Travis Head started on a cautious approach. Henry Nicholls produced a brilliant one-handed fingertip catch to dismiss Smith for 85. Smith and Head added 68 runs for the 5th wicket. Australian captain Tim Paine looked positive from the outset. Head reached his fifty off 109 balls. It was a good display batting by Paine and Head who showed their class against the Kiwis bowling line up. At lunch, Australia were 336 for 5.

After the lunch break, the New Zealand captain Kane Williamson bought in Tom Blundell which eased the pressure. Paine made the batting look easy and reached his fifty off 72 balls. Head and Paine frustrated the New Zealand bowlers with tight defence and attacking strokes . Australia went into tea break at 431 for 5 with Head on 98.

In the third session, Neil Wagner toiled hard and got the wicket of Australian captain Tim Paine for 79. Paine and Head added 150 runs for the 6th wicket. Wagner dismissed Mitchell Starc in the same over. Travis Head looked composed to reach his century off 222 balls. After reaching his century, Head played big strokes and was dismissed for 114 by Wagner. Tim Southee dismissed Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon to bowl out Australia for 467 in their first innings.

In reply, the debutant Tom Blundell looked aggressive with his stroke play against Mitchell Starc. Pat Cummins bowled consistent line and length. Pat Cummins got the breakthrough for Australia dismissing Blundell for 15. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Tom Latham resisted top quality bowling before Williamson played a poor stroke off James Pattinson bowling. New Zealand could have been in deep trouble as Ross Taylor was given out on review. Taylor decided to review it and the ball went above the stumps. Tom Latham struggled but remained not out. New Zealand ended the 2nd day at 44 for 2.

New Zealand 44 for 2 in 18 overs ( Tom Blundell 15, Tom Latham 9*, Pat Cummins 1/8) trail Australia 467 in 155.1 overs ( Travis Head 114, Steve Smith 85, Tim Paine 79, Neil Wagner 4/83, Tim Southee 3/103) by 423 runs.

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