Williamson plays fighting hand for Kiwis

 Kane Williamson bats during day four of the first Test match between Australia and New Zealand at The Gabba. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.
Kane Williamson bats during day four of the first Test match between Australia and New Zealand at The Gabba. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

IT WAS a slow day marred by rain, but Australia inched closer to victory in the first Test against New Zealand at the Gabba.

The Aussies will back themselves to take seven more wickets on the final day today, with the Black Caps still needing an unlikely 362 to win.

The hosts took the key wicket of Kane Williamson for 59 with just five minutes before tea, falling lbw to off-spinner Nathan Lyon, in a pivotal blow to the visitors' hopes of even holding on for a draw.

Williamson would have been bitterly disappointed because no more play followed the tea interval.

Showers have been forecast for this morning and afternoon and the Black Caps will be hoping it does indeed pour with rain.

The visitors did show some admirable fight with the bat on day four, though.

Martin Guptill lasted 133 balls for just 23, while Tom Latham went 71 deliveries for 29.

Like his brilliant first innings of 140, Williamson looked composed at the crease while also playing a wide range of shots.

He has now scored more runs at No.3 in Tests than the great Don Bradman could at his age (25).

The Kiwi stroke-maker now has 2804 runs at 51.92 with nine centuries, ranking him the second overall in Test history in runs scored at 25 or younger.

South African legend Jacques Kallis (3040 at 47.50) tops that list.

Former Australian Test all-rounder Greg Matthews was left in awe of Williamson's performances across both innings of this Test.

"What amazes me about him is the time," Matthews told APN.  

"It sounds ridiculous but he seems to treat Mitchell Johnson like a slow-medium bowler.   "It's terrifying how much time he's got.

"I can't remember anyone - maybe Brian Lara - that has every shot through 360 degrees from the late cut to the leg glance.

"He doesn't feel the need to do anything funky."

The Black Caps will certainly need to do a few funky things today if they are to snatch an unlikely victory.

Captain Brendon McCullum (four not out) and Ross Taylor will be at the crease when play resumes today, with Taylor unbeaten on 20, and surviving a few nervy moments where he played and missed at the ball.

If the visitors can bat out today and settle for a draw, they would be delighted with that result.



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