Nathan Lyon was Australia’s surprise star with the bat on day three, while a part-time spinner had a day to remember for the Black Caps.

Here are the five quick hits from day three of the first Test in Wellington.

1. Nathan Lyon’s entertaining cameo

Nathan Lyon drives square of the wicket

Nathan Lyon top-scored in Australia’s second innings with 41.(Getty Images: Hagen Hopkins)

Nightwatchmen typically have one job — survive the night.

Lyon just about did that as the shadows lengthened on day two, surviving a dropped chance from Tim Southee to resume his innings on six at the start of day three.

Having done a job for the team overnight, Lyon was given the freedom to express himself when the sun came up.

And boy did he take centre stage.

Granted, there was an awful lot of luck involved — plenty of runs came through the slips to third man at varying heights — but his 41-run cameo off 46 balls was a hugely entertaining way to start the day’s play and put Australia even more on the front foot. 

2. Phillips five-fa highlights a selection error

Glenn Phillips leaps into the arms of a teammate

Part-time spinner Glenn Phillips had the ball talking on day three.(Getty Images: Hagen Hopkins)

One of the key selection decisions for New Zealand coming into this Test was whether spinner Mitch Santner or controversial pace bowler Scott Kuggeleijn would be named as the fourth bowler.

Given the Basin Reserve’s propensity to offer turn, the smart money appeared to be on Santner getting the nod.

In the two Tests at Basin Reserve last year, off-spinner Michael Bracewell took 5-150 for the match as New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 58 runs in March, with bespectacled England offy Jack Leach taking 8-237 in the match (and Joe Root 1-39) in the Black Caps’ famous one-run victory the month prior.

However, New Zealand opted for pace and, given the amount of turn on offer on days two and three, it’s hard to say it worked out.

Kuggeleijin may have taken 2-75 in his 20 overs in the first innings, but Nathan Lyon showed that there was plenty in the pitch for the tweakers, extracting venomous turn and bounce to claim 4-43 in Australia’s first bowling innings.

Then, Glenn Phillips took five wickets — including two in two balls — with some sublime spin bowling (and some handy bat-pad catching from Will Young) after lunch, which should have been six if first Kuggeleijn and then Henry Nichols could have held catches in the outfield in successive overs — the first by a New Zealander in New Zealand since 2006.

It all added to the sense that the Black Caps might have made the wrong pick. Even Lyon was surprised at the opponent’s decision: “When they left Mitch Santner, I was pretty surprised,” Nathan Lyon said after the day’s play.

3. Timmy shells another one

The highest successful run chase at Basin Reserve is Pakistan’s 3-277 in 2003, so when Australia’s lead pushed past 300, New Zealand were surely up against it.

But with some impressive bowling through the morning session, the Black Caps may have felt that they were still alive in the game, albeit with a desperate need to take every chance that came their way.

So what they didn’t need was for their skipper, Tim Southee, to drop Cameron Green on 20. 

It was a tough chance on his follow-through, but Southee clearly felt like he should have snaffled it.

“Twice!” Southee exclaimed as he held his head back and roared at the sky, referencing his drop of Nathan Lyon the night prior when he was on six, a mistake that cost New Zealand 35 runs.

This one cost just 14, and given how well New Zealand played after lunch, it was fortunately just a hiccup — but the skipper will want to tighten up his fielding if he wants to set the right example.

4. Poor Will 

A male cricketer wearing whites runs.

Will O’Rourke was the fastest of the New Zealand bowlers in the second innings.(Getty Images: Hagen Hopkins)

Will O’Rourke was a definite highlight for New Zealand in this match — and perhaps for the future as well.

His first spell on day three was mesmeric: seven overs, 0-7 with four maidens as he was near-unplayable at a decent pace, averaging 138kph.

His second spell was a nightmare, though.

Mitch Starc hammered him with a slog over mid wicket for a one-bounce four first up — and then he had to go off after bowling just five balls with what appeared to be a hamstring tweak.

“It doesn’t look life-threatening,” said the host commentator, which will no doubt be a relief to the Surrey-born Canterbury-raised 22-year-old.

But it did curtail what had been a very impressive second Test cap for the tall paceman.

5. Williamson misses out again

It’s a rare occurrence for Kane Williamson to miss out in any Test innings these days. So for Australia to get him twice in this match for a grand total of nine runs must feel like Christmas for the visitors.

Kane Williamson looks down and Travis Head celebrates

Kane Williamson was dismissed for 9 in the second innings.(Getty Images: Hagen Hopkins)

Williamson briefly threatened to find a worse way to get out than his ridiculous first-innings mix-up, nearly getting a tickle on a Nathan Lyon shocker down the leg side.

He survived that, but not much longer. Lyon did the business for Australia, coming around the wicket and finding a tickle from Williamson’s bat through to Steve Smith at leg slip.

Williamson is not normally one to stay down for long, so you can expect a bounce back in the second Test. But if the Aussies go on to win this match, taking care of New Zealand’s star man will be a big factor.

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