Sport Cricket Third Test: Openers hold on as Australia extends its lead to 243
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Third Test: Openers hold on as Australia extends its lead to 243

Australian opener David Warner was not out at stumps. Photo: AAP
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Third Test, SCG, Australia v NZ, day three, SCG

First innings: Australia 454, New Zealand 251

Second innings: Australia 0-40, stumps 

Warner 23, Burns 16 

Australia has established a 243-run lead over New Zealand on day three of the third Test at the SCG.

David Warner (23) and Joe Burns (16) saw Australia to 0-40 at stumps after the tourists were bowled out for 251 in their first innings, trailing Australia’s first innings by 203.

Opener Burns said he expected the pitch to deteriorate and give the spin bowlers more to work with in coming days.

“If you are asking me it is incredibly tough [to bat],” he said on Channel Seven after stumps. “It is just one of those wickets where you have to apply yourself.

“Probably [we’ll head] towards 400 [lead], take as many as we can get.”

Australian bowler Nathan Lyon jagged 5-68, his first five for at the SCG, getting wickets early and late to set up the third Test for Australia.

First blood: Nathan Lyon bowls Tom Blundell at the SCG. Photo: AAP

“We are heading into a pretty good positions here, but a lot of work to do in the morning,” Lyon told Channel Seven.

“I see it as pretty special to play here in front of my home crowd … pretty special to go up on the honour board, but a lot of work still to be done.”

Lyon broke through in the morning session to have Tom Blundell bowled through his legs for 34. He then had an ill Jeet Raval out lbw after the virus-hit former opener held up an end for 31 valuable runs.

Immediately after the DRS review confirmed Raval was out, Pat Cummins had Tom Latham out for 49 when the opener spooned a catch to Mitchell Starc.

After lunch paceman Cummins had Ross Taylor out lbw for 22, with New Zealand’s run chase following a familiar script.

Starc then had BJ Watling drag a ball onto his stumps when he was one nine, while Colin de Grandhomme was run out when taking on a suicidal second run when on 20.

There was some good luck for the Kiwis when James Pattinson had Glenn Phillips caught for 28, but on replay the ball was deemed a no ball. Phillips went on to score 52, eventually being bowled by Cummins.

Nathan Lyon cleaned up the tail, with William Somerville and Neil Wagner both falling cheaply to Nathan Lyon.

New Zealand’s batsmen had resumed their first innings run chase on 0-63 with Tom Latham on 26 and Blundell on 34.

The tourists are chasing Australia’s 454, but working against injury and illness within their camp as a flu-like virus continues to take a toll on the team.

It was revealed on Saturday that the players stopped high-fiving a sick teammate to prevent a virus spreading, as coaching staff prepared to field in case of emergency during another dramatic day at the SCG.

Recalled batsman Raval joined the ever-growing sick bay, while scans revealed pace bowler Matt Henry had broken his thumb.

Battling on: Jeet Raval took the field despite being sick. Photo: AAP

Raval, who has not been in great form, came the crease after Blundell fell.

Henry has bowled through the pain barrier after trying stop a Joe Burns drive on day one because the blow affected his non-bowling hand.

Raval was the latest Kiwi to succumb to a flu-like virus, joining skipper Kane Williamson, batsman Henry Nicholls and spinner Mitchell Santner who were all ruled out before Friday’s toss.

“You have to be very diligent with things like hand sanitiser and being around food and people who aren’t feeling great,” New Zealand spinner Todd Astle said.

“You have to have certain measures in place. We’ve been smart about it and in terms of high-fives it was different with Jeet – (it was tap) elbows or just a gesture.

“We don’t want anyone else going down.”

Australia has been set up in the game by Marnus Labuschagne’s 215, with his insatiable desire for runs able to be be traced back to three months before he became Steve Smith’s concussion replacement at Lord’s.

The star of the third Test in Sydney, Labuschagne’s summer of big scores has netted him 837 runs – the most of any Australian in a five-Test home summer.

Three months before his Ashes call up his golden run began with Glamorgan, where he became the first player to reach 1000 runs in the 2019 County season.

Labuschagne averaged just 31.95 in first-class cricket when he arrived in Wales last April. But his record since is unmatched.

In the nine months that have followed he has hit 2627 first-class runs at an average of 69.13, having also played more days of elite cricket than any other player last year.

“There is no better way to learn your game than playing games,” Labuschagne said.

“I had the opportunity to do that in England. And score hundreds and get

I had the opportunity to do that in England. And score hundreds and get consistent over there. It was something I hadn’t been able to do in Shield cricket.”

consistent over there. It was something I hadn’t been able to do in Shield cricket.”

Small changes in Labuschagne’s technique have been credited to his English stint, including straightening his bat path.

Marnus Labuschagne in full flight at the SCG on Saturday. Photo: AAP 

In 18 innings Labuschagne hit five centuries for Glamorgan, with his highest a 182 against Sussex in late May.

But it was also from that innings in Hove the 25-year-old learned perhaps his biggest lesson of 2019.

Labuschagne was chastised by Glamorgan coach Matthew Maynard for leaving runs on the field and not turning his hundreds into doubles.

So when he got his opportunity at the SCG on Saturday, after three times falling between 140 and 190 this summer, he wasn’t going to let it go.

“He (Maynard) has sent me a few messages when I threw away a couple of my opportunities to get a double,” Labuschagne said.

“He said that to me a few times, one day he said ‘there’s only a few times in your life that you can make a triple and you threw it away today, well done.”

-with AAP