Cricket

Oz cruise to victory, claim top ranking

2016-02-24 06:34
Steve Smith (File)

Christchurch - Steve Smith's dominant Australians crushed New Zealand by seven wickets in the second Test to sweep the series 2-0 and go to the top of the world rankings in Christchurch on Wednesday.

With Smith smacking 53 off 46 balls, Australia polished off the 131 runs they needed on the final day at Hagley Oval to reach their 201 target in the fourth over after lunch.

Adam Voges was not out 10 while the only wickets to fall on the final day were those of Joe Burns for 65 and Usman Khawaja for 45.

The victory confirmed Australia's superiority over New Zealand after they won the first Test in Wellington by an innings and 52 runs.

For New Zealand it put a cloud on Brendon McCullum's farewell, as their captain took his final bow on the world stage after 101 Tests.

After resuming the day at 70 for 1, with David Warner (22) out late on Tuesday, Australia took 34 overs to score the remaining 131 runs they needed.

Man-of-the-match Burns, having laid the foundations for victory with his 170 in the first innings, scored his fourth Test 50 before being removed shortly before the lunch break.

He had been unflappable against the familiar Neil Wagner short-pitched barrage and was content to pick up runs at the other end.

Khawaja was less respectful of Wagner, backing away to clip a chest-high delivery to the boundary as he took his overnight 19 to 45 before giving Tim Southee his first wicket of the Test after 29 overs.

Southee had bottled up Khawaja for eight consecutive deliveries before getting an edge with a ball angling away outside off stump which went to McCullum at first slip.

Burns patiently faced 162 balls for his 65 but his hopes of leading the Australians off at the end were over just before the end of the morning session when he was bowled by Trent Boult.

Smith, like Khawaja, had a go at Wagner - sending one bouncer over long leg for six and pulling a shoulder-high delivery to the fine leg boundary.

The series sweep put Australia ahead of India at the top of the world rankings to claim the US$1 million prize for the number one side at the end of the cricket year.

This was the last Test before the April 1 deadline as cricket's attention turns to the World Twenty20 championship in India next month.

Read more on:    australia  |  steve smith  |  cricket
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