Lunch New Zealand 84 for 5 (Anderson 14*, Watling 13*, Hazlewood 3-25) v Australia
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Brendon McCullum fell for a duck, playing his 100th Test on the trot © Getty Images
Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and Peter Nevill rained on Brendon McCullum’s parade to reduce New Zealand to 84 for 5 at lunch and subdue a packed house at the Basin Reserve on the opening morning of the first Test.
Australia’s captain Steven Smith had no hesitation sending the hosts in to bat on a green pitch, and the surface offered just the right amount of movement to catch the edge of the bat – all New Zealand’s top five fell to catches behind the wicket.
While Jackson Bird struggled on his return to Test cricket after a three year absence, Hazlewood and Siddle bowled exemplary lengths to probe for the outside and inside edges of the bat. Nevill claimed three catches, the second a stunner when Siddle found Kane Williamson’s inside edge.
McCullum enjoyed a proud morning, receiving a commemorative 100th Test cap, but he could only last a handful of balls before squeezing Hazlewood into the slip cordon. Corey Anderson and BJ Watling did well to survive the second hour after five wickets had fallen before first drinks.
The inclusions of Bird and Siddle indicated Australia’s opinion of the pitch, and there was unmistakable relief on Smith’s face when he called correctly at the toss. Tom Latham and Martin Guptill began in a positive vein, but Hazlewood was extracting seam movement in both directions and it was a ball zipping away that coaxed a feather-edge from the left-handed Latham – DRS was required to confirm it.
Hazlewood found an even better delivery for Guptill, who did little wrong in statuesque defence but could do nothing about the subtle seam movement that delivered a catch at head height to Smith at econd slip. Bird was withdrawn from the attack after his first three overs cost 25, and Williamson punched Siddle’s first ball down the ground.
But Siddle was not dissuaded from pursuing a full length, and second ball Williamson played slightly outside the line to snick past the stumps. Nevill re-transferred his weight and timed his lunge to perfection, the ball plopping softly into his left glove in a catch every wicketkeeper would be proud to claim.
The Australians, now surging, had another source of joy when McCullum could do nothing about a Hazlewood ball that seamed back and lobbed off bat and pad to David Warner at third slip. Henry Nicholls was drawn into pushing at Siddle and presented Nevill with his third catch of the morning on the stroke of drinks.
Anderson and Watling thus had a moment to compose themselves, and resolved to dig in. They managed to do so for the remainder of the session, Watling surviving a couple of close calls when he miscued a Mitchell Marsh delivery close to his own body, and when an lbw appeal and referral by Bird was found to have struck him marginally outside the line of the off stump.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo