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Alex Carey stars as Australia beat New Zealand in World Test Championship thriller

A brave innings from Alex Carey alongside Mitchell Marsh’s 80 and Pat Cummins’ late heroics helped Australia beat New Zealand by three wickets in the second Test, here on Monday.

Carey finished on 98* as Pat Cummins (32*) struck the winning runs off New Zealand debutant Ben Sears (4/90), whose double-wicket over to collect Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc earlier looked to bring the Blackcaps back into the match.

In the end, Cummins’ and Carey’s partnership of 61 pushed the Australians to a three-wicket win, handing the tourists 12 points on their road to defending the World Test Championship mace, and completing a 2-0 series clean sweep against their trans-Tasman rivals, reports ICC.

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Australia were in precarious spots at 34/4 and then 80/5 in the chase of 279 before the partnership of 140 between Carey and Marsh (80), with the pair travelling at almost five runs an over.

Sears claimed Marsh after Marais Erasmus gave the Australian No.6 lbw, before a shorter delivery on Starc’s hip was hit to Will Young in close on the leg-side next delivery. Cummins survived the hat-trick ball, albeit streakily, before hitting four boundaries in his 44-ball stay, the last of which completing the chase.

Claiming 10 catches on top of his match-winning knock, Carey was named Player of the Match, and explained Australia’s plan of attack at the post-match presentation. “The message this morning was let’s go out there and play our way if you see an opportunity, take it. (It was) backs against the wall this morning, they came out last night and really put us under the pump so it’s nice to chase those runs down.

“We knew they were the threats early, the ball was nipping around and I thought Mitch Marsh’s intent was outstanding and sort of got us going a little bit but, it was certainly tough early,” said Carey. Also speaking after the victory, Carey’s batting partner and captain justified the attack with the bat by looking at it from the bowling side’s perspective.

“If the scoreboard is not moving, you always feel in the game (from the bowling side), but if they’re just chipping away at it seems like it’s all happening pretty quickly. “So that was a goal today – just always be busy out there. Just keep the run rate ticking over, bit by bit getting closer,” Cummins said.

Looking back on the beginning of the Test, the skipper praised his men for keeping their cool as wickets tumbled on both sides, taking a crucial first-innings lead into the latter stages. “That day one moved really quickly. And then after that the pitch flattened out and it was a bit tougher going for the bowlers. But yeah, the first innings lead was always key.

“I think the story of this series was in key moments one guy stood up, and we didn’t necessarily play complete games but you know, someone stood up and made themselves a match-winner. (We) keep finding ways to win. It’s a pretty awesome squad.

“Amazing win, bit by bit, the boys were fantastic today,” he added. New Zealand captain Tim Southee praised the work of Australia’s batters. “Yeah it was a great partnership (between Marsh and Carey). That sort of broke the back of our attack, but then obviously, a great little exciting into the end of the day,” Southee reflected in his 100th Test match.

“When you’re playing the No.1 side in the world you just need to go that little bit further, but I think it was a great Test match, obviously turning up to day four with both results in play and then the flow throughout the whole match.”

Australia are now at No.2 in the World Test Championship standings with a point percentage of 62.50, just below India (68.51%) at No.1.

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