Australia will almost certainly march to another victory tomorrow, but only after inserting another entry into the ugly Australian cricket folder at Hagley Oval.
Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has been charged with dissent by the International Cricket Council match referee Chris Broad for his part in a shabby display of petulance over an umpiring decision just before lunch.
Hazlewood has pleaded guilty, with his punishment expected tonight.
Having been denied an overwhelming appeal for lbw against Kane Williamson, and had their subsequent referral similarly rejected, Australian players, notably Hazlewood and captain Steve Smith, visibly vented their disappointment.
Harsh words flew, with Hazlewood being picked up by the stump microphones angrily asking umpire Ranmore Martinesz, ‘What!? It hit his foot … who the f*** is third umpire?’.
He subsequently fired off a verbal volley at batsman Corey Anderson as the players left the field for lunch.
The Australians are also unhappy the stump microphones were left on – they are meant to be turned down when the ball is dead – which sounds like a defence you offer when nothing better readily comes to mind.
“Test cricket is a hard game, tempers can rise and people get frustrated sometimes,” Australian seamer Jackson Bird said last night, after taking career-best figures of five for 59.
“Those 50-50 calls, they either go your way or they don’t. So it was probably the frustration of the whole session.”
Hazlewood had toiled hard with no success leading up to the incident, not that that should be any defence.
Anderson, who had batted resolutely through the morning session with Williamson in adding 102 for the fifth wicket, played down the incident.
“I didn’t actually hear anything,” he said of the Hazlewood spray.
“I got told he was saying something to me. But I’m actually deaf in my left ear, so he could have been on my wrong side.
“Whether he said something or not, I’m not too concerned. You hear a little bit every now and then when you’re out there, but you’re so focused and consumed by what you do, you end up blocking most of it out.”
New Zealand fought hard today, with two notable partnerships, but the loss of three wickets in 10 Bird deliveries, around the arrival of the second new ball soon after lunch, undermined those efforts.
Williamson was three runs shy of his 14th test century when he played Bird on to his stumps. Anderson had also played on a few minutes earlier.
BJ Watling and Matt Henry, with a test high 66, added a further 118 but they needed to find at least a further 50 runs to be able to pressure Australia.
Anderson remains optimistic, although it sounded more based on hope than genuine confidence.