New Zealand pacer Neil Wagner picked up his 200th Test scalp, becoming the second-fastest Kiwi bowler to reach the milestone after playing just 46 matches, as Australia extended their lead to 456 runs at the close of the day's play at the MCG on Saturday. A fiery Wagner kept going at the Australian batsmen, refusing to tone down his aggressive spell as he got the prized wickets of David Warner and Steve Smith. David Warner was dismissed for just 38 runs while Smith ended the year on a low note, scoring just seven runs in the second innings. Santner picked up the wicket of opener Joe burns and also assisted in the run-out of Marnus Labuschagne, who managed to put up just 19 runs with the bat. As the play heads into Day four, Australia are expected to declare and put the Kiwis to bat, and will attempt to bowl out the visitors, who stand a very tough chance to turn the game around in their favour.
Australian speedster Pat Cummins' purple patch in Test cricket continued on Saturday after he produced another brilliant performance with the ball against New Zealand in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). New Zealand were bowled out for 148 courtesy Pat Cummin's fifer (5/28). This was his fifth fifer in Tests. He now averages 21.58 with the ball in Tests, going slightly past former Australian pacer Glenn McGrath, who averaged 21.64.
The comparison between the two becomes even crisper when you consider both bowlers after 29 Tests. At that point, McGrath had 121 wickets at an average of 25.48 while Pat Cummins’ has 139 at 21.58. McGrath’s haul of 563 wickets might be a far-fetched dream for the 26-year-old, but if he continues his strong form over the next decade, there is no doubting he could well end his career as one of Australia’s greatest ever fast bowlers.
The right-arm pacer missed out on a world record of most consecutive Test wickets without an LBW when he trapped Henry Nicholls leg before for a golden duck. Cummins grabbed 70 wickets in the 2018-19 calendar year without a single LBW and is fifth on the list. The list is led by JV Saunders of Australia, who had managed to grab 79 wickets without a single LBW from 1902-08.