Australia were reduced to three specialist bowlers in the Perth Pink Ball Test. Under the punishing heat, getting 10 second-wicket innings was proving to be an uphill task. However, Mitchell Starc continued his great form, taking four wickets to go with five in the first innings. Starc was well assisted by Nathan Lyon who also took four wickets as New Zealand crumbled to a huge 296-run defeat against Australia at the New Perth stadium. Australia's consistency with the ball continued as they notched up their third straight win of the international home summer.
After suffering a collapse in the last session of day 3, Australia looked to build their lead with the help of Pat Cummins and Matthew Wade. Cummins showed intent by whacking two fours off Colin de Grandhomme but he was immediately dismissed by the ever-persisting Neil Wagner. Wade also perished for 17 with de Grandhomme taking the catch but Starc struck boundaries at will to boost Australia past 200. When Starc fell for 23 to give Tim Southee his ninth five-wicket haul in Tests, New Zealand needed 468 runs to win. More importantly, they had to bat out five sessions and 166 overs, a massive task in Perth.
Once again, the New Zealand openers struggled. Starc prolonged Jeet Raval's woes with a short ball as he fended to Lyon at backward point to fall for 1. Kane Williamson, the New Zealand skipper, smashed two boundaries off Starc but the Kiwis were dealt a blow when Lyon struck off his first ball in the second innings to give a catch to Wade at forward short leg. With Williamson dismissed cheaply, it was only a matter of time before New Zealand's resistance crumbled.
Latham dropped anchor and Taylor was looking to score boundaries at will. Both players looked like stringing a solid partnership but once Starc dismissed Taylor for 22 and Lyon sent back Latham for 18, the end was near for New Zealand. BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls looked good with a couple of boundaries but Nicholls survived a testing period in which he was hit on the helmet and survived a couple of close LBW appeals.
For some time, New Zealand were hoping that they could get through to the tea break unscathed but in the final over, Lyon struck by removing Nicholls for 21 with Travis Head taking a sharp catch. After the break, de Grandhomme started with a six and reached 1000 Test runs with a drive off Pat Cummins to deep cover. Watling, on the other hand, was playing in his typical aggressive way and he benefited from a drop by Steve Smith on 30.
De Grandhomme and Watling frustrated Australia but Cummins broke the stubborn resistance by getting rid of de Grandhomme for 33. Watling glanced a full ball from Starc for 40 and even the review did not save him. The end was nigh for New Zealand. Cummins got his second wicket when Mitchell Santner was dismissed for 0. Starc got his fourth wicket with Wagner falling for 8 and Lyon wrapped up the match when he had Southee caught.
Speaking ater the match, Australia skipper Tim Paine praised the bowlers immensely. "We're proud of our bowling attack. To take 20 wickets in just about 105 overs with just three bowlers. Marnus, Travis and Wade all chipped in," Paine said. Williamson, on the other hand, rued the lack of adaptability for the Kiwis. "The conditions were tough, with the heat and the surface being totally different from our previous Test in Hamilton. But that's the nature of international cricket. You got to adapt," Williamson said.