Nathan Lyon took his maiden five wicket haul against New Zealand as Australia were on top in the Sydney Test. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Nathan Lyon had dropped two catches. He injured his thumb in the process of taking one of the catches. The pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground was sluggish. However, such has been New Zealand's wretched luck in the current tour that they could not make Australia pay. Glenn Phillips, who arrived a night before the Test match as cover for the injuries to Henry Nicholls, smashed a gritty fifty but Lyon ended up with his 17th five wicket haul and first against New Zealand and at the SCG as Australia notched up a 203-run lead. David Warner and Joe Burns extended the advantage on day 3 as New Zealand faced an uphill battle to stay alive.
The sky overhead was gloomy on day 3, which is celebrated as Jane McGrath day. It is the day when funds are collected in order to promote breast cancer awareness. However, the focus was on the horizon with the bushfires wrecking havoc in and around Sydney. With haze threatening to become an issue, it was Lyon who provided the first breakthrough when Tom Blundell, in a defensive mindset, missed a pull to a short ball and it hit the back pad to hit leg stump. Jeet Raval, who has endured an epic struggle in Tests in the last year, struck a couple of clean shots and looked in positive touch.
However, it was Lyon again who kept plugging away as Raval missed a sweep to be judged LBW. Even the review did not save him. Ross Taylor also looked confident but like other New Zealand batsman, he too struggled to capitalise on a good start and was trapped LBW by Pat Cummins. When BJ Watling dragged a shortish ball from Mitchell Starc bacak onto the stumps, it was a familiar case of New Zealand struggling to come to terms with Australia's discipline.
Colin de Grandhomme and Glenn Philllips looked to steady the ship and seemed to be frustrating Australia but once again, New Zealand shot themselves in the foot as de Grandhomme was run-out in the quest of a dangerous second run. Phillips and Todd Astle got New Zealand closer to avoiding the follow-on. Phillips was caught on the boundary when he pulled James Pattinson to the deep midwicket fence but the bowler overstepped. Phillips made him pay and he pulled Cummins for a big six and he notched up his fifty with yet another pull shot off the same bowler.
However, Cummins had the last laugh and he ended Phillips' gritty knock with a superb in-ducker off a good length that hit the top of off stump. Lyon then came back to wrap up the innings as he sent back William Sommerville with a skidder and cleaned up Neil Wagner with a flighted delivery. Lyon fittingly ended the innings as Matt Henry wandered out of the crease affter defending a ball to get stumped.
This was his first five-wicket haul at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Lyon now has a five-wicket haul against every country that he has played so far, having taken five wickets earlier in the summer during the Pink Ball Test against Pakistan in Adelaide. David Warner and Joe Burns safely negotiated the period before stumps as Australia ended on 40/0. With two days to go, Australia would be hoping for some quick runs and establish a big lead before the weather intervenes.