Australia ace-spinner Nathan Lyon roared over opposition New Zealand in the first innings of the second Test as he scalped five significant wickets to restrict the Blackcaps at 251. After putting up a mammoth total of 454 in the first innings, courtesy of Marnus Labuschagne's fine innings of 215 runs, the Aussie pacers were behind Lyon when it came to clearing the Blackcaps' batsmen.
Lyon cleared opener Tom Blundell and youngster Jeet Raval first and then got rid of the tailend consisting of William Somerville, Neil Wagner and Matt Henry. Lyon bowled 30.4 overs, off which he gave away only 68 runs and bowled 10 maidens. The off-spinner now has a fifer against each team that he has ever faced and has 7 fifers against the Indians.
It was the longest innings of a disastrous lost series for the Kiwis, bettering the 71 overs they faced in the second innings of the second Melbourne Test. Spinner Nathan Lyon put down two caught and bowled chances when Phillips was on two and 17. The Kiwi batsman dodged another bullet on 28 when he was caught by Travis Head at deep midwicket only to be recalled when James Pattinson was found to have over-stepped for a no-ball.
The Blackcaps lost three wickets in the middle session with experienced Ross Taylor out in the second over after lunch leg before wicket to Pat Cummins for 22. Taylor remains 20 runs away from becoming the highest-scoring New Zealand batsman in Tests behind Stephen Fleming (7,172). Wicketkeeper BJ Watling, with a reputation for lengthy stays at the crease, chopped a wide Mitchell Starc delivery on to his stumps for nine off 30 balls to put his team further under pressure.
The Sydney Test is being played against the backdrop of one of Australia's most devastating bushfire seasons with at least 24 people losing their lives in blazes raging across the country, including on the outskirts of Sydney. The game will be suspended at the umpire's discretion, should smoke significantly affect air quality or visibility, but the sky has remained largely clear so far.