Five wickets for Jackson Bird as Australia close on victory - and pole position

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Football News

Jackson Bird shone with the ball as Australia closed in on a 2-0 Test victory over New Zealand.

Bird took five wickets on the fourth day of the second Test at Christchurch as the hosts were dismissed for 335 in their second innings.

That left Australia needing 201 for a win which would see them take over from India at the top of the ICC rankings - and they closed on 70 for one .

The Black Caps, who lost the opening Test in Wellington last week by an innings and 52 runs, started day four at Hagley Oval on 121 for four - still needing another 14 runs to make Australia bat again.

Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson added another 86 to that total - but their 102-run stand was broken when Anderson was bowled by Bird for 40, including five fours.

Three runs later Bird had his second victim when he bowled Williamson three runs short of his century, ending an innings which contained eight fours - and leaving New Zealand on 210 for six.

Tim Southee had faced just two balls and failed to score when he was caught by Steve Smith, again off Bird.

BJ Watling and Matt Henry added 118 for the eighth wicket in 26.2 overs, a stand which only ended when first innings centurion Joe Burns caught Watling for 46 (including six fours) off the bowling of James Pattinson.

And 328 for eight became 335 for nine when Henry's resistance was ended by the returning Bird, who bowled him for 66 from 93 balls, including 12 fours.

The 29-year-old pace bowler completed his five-wicket haul when Pattinson caught last man Trent Boult without scoring - Bird finished with five for 59.

Burns and Warner had scored 49 of the 201 needed when Warner gloved a Neil Wagner delivery to wicketkeeper Watling and was out for 22.

Burns (27 not out) was joined at the wicket by Usman Khawaja (19no) as Australia closed on 70 for one from 20 overs - needing another 131 on the final day with nine wickets in hand.

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