November 29, 2015

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Australia won the first ever day-night cricket test by 3 wickets against New Zealand on Sunday, with tail-enders Peter Siddle and Mitch Starc ushering the hosts to victory in a dramatic finish under lights that will almost certainly ensure the format isn't consigned to history as a one-time event.

The match was over inside three days, which hasn't happened in an Adelaide Oval test since 1951 and which highlighted the differences of using the pink ball and playing under lights in the longest form of the game.

Ball dominated bat, particularly in the twilight sessions. The first 25 wickets tumbled in two days before New Zealand resumed Sunday at 116-5, an overall lead of 94.

Josh Hazlewood, leading the attack because the injured Starc wasn't allowed to bowl, returned a career-best 6-70 and Mitch Marsh took 3-59 to bowl the New Zealanders out for 208 in the first session and set up the target. Trent Boult responded with figures of 5-60 for New Zealand, including Shaun Marsh for 49 just as the home team appeared to be coasting, to ensure a tense two hours before Australia clinched the three-match series 2-0.

''It was obviously a very tight finish - great for the game of cricket,'' Australia captain Steve Smith said. ''It was an exceptional event. It certainly brought the bowlers into the game - I think they all enjoyed bowling under the lights.''

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum said the day-night concept was the future of test cricket.

''In terms of an experiment, I think it went off as well as it could do,'' he said. ''With 120,000 people turning up over three days - people are voting with their feet. I think it's here to stay.''

Boult got two lbw decisions on either side of David Warner's dismissal for 35, removing Joe Burns (11) with the total at 34 and ending Smith's scratchy innings at 14 as Australia slipped to 66-3.

Smith never appeared settled, his edge off Boult just failed to carry to wicketkeeper B.J. Watling on one, he was dropped at mid-wicket by Mitch Santner on two, and he squeezed an inside edge between his legs to get a boundary off Boult on eight.

He challenged the lbw decision, but the TV umpire confirmed the dismissal after the ball tracker showed it hitting the bails. McCullum's New Zealanders didn't need another contentious review, given the controversy over Nathan Lyon's not-out decision on Saturday before he played a big role in Australia's first-innings comeback and swung the momentum of the game.

The Australians got on top again with Adam Voges (28) sharing a 49-run stand with Shaun Marsh before he was out in the second over after the tea break.

The Marsh brothers combined to add 46 before the younger Mitch was out to Santner, skying a catch to Kane Williamson.

Shaun Marsh was batting to save his test career after a terrible run out in the first innings in his latest recall to the national XI.

He faced 117 balls in 2 1/2 hours and got Australia within 11 runs of victory until edging Boult to slip. It didn't end there.

Peter Nevill, the highest scorer in the match with 66 in the first innings, was out for 10 when he tried to drive Boult and got an inside edge that Watling caught to complete a spectacular, diving dismissal, leaving Australia requiring two for victory. Starc, unable to bowl because of a foot injury, hobbled out to join Siddle, who edged his way to the win with an unbeaten 9.

''It's pretty hard to separate the two teams over the last two test matches,'' McCullum said. ''We've got a bit of a mantra within our team that if you are going to get beaten, then make it bloody tough for the opposition to do so. Over the last two test matches, we've stepped up and played some really good cricket and we can take a lot of positives out of it.''

Starc will miss Australia's next three-test series against the West Indies, which starts Dec. 10 at Hobart. New Zealand will host Sri Lanka before the return two-test series against Australia early next year.

Despite the three-day finish, the day-night concept for tests was popular with local fans, with the crowd of 33,923 on day three taking the total attendance to 123,736 for the match.

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