Tea New Zealand 183 (Craig 41, Hazlewood 4-42, SIddle 3-37) v Australia
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Brendon McCullum fell for a duck, playing his 100th Test on the trot © Getty Images
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 – Seven of New Zealand’s top eight 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 four catches, the second a stunner when Siddle found Kane Williamson’s inside edge for 16. Lyon chimed in usefully after lunch to help round up the tail.
McCullum had enjoyed a proud morning, receiving a commemorative 100th Test cap, but he could only last a handful of balls before squeezing Hazlewood into the slips. His bowlers now face a steep task to pull New Zealand back into the match on a surface that is quickening up.
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 second 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 Bird was withdrawn from the attack after his first three overs cost 25, and Williamson punched Siddle’s first ball down the ground.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 of.
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. Henry Nicholls was drawn into pushing at Siddle and presented Nevill with his third catch of the morning on the stroke of the first drinks break. New Zealand were 51 for 5.
Anderson and Watling had barely a moment to compose themselves, but they resolved to dig in and did so for the remainder of the morning session. Watling survived 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 around the line of the off stump.
Watling could only last until the second over of the afternoon, done in by a Hazlewood delivery that bounced on a tight line and provided Nevill with another catch. Anderson’s stern occupation – 38 runs, 87 balls and 144 minutes – was ended with an uncharacteristically half-hearted attempt to loft Lyon, before Southee sliced an attempted slog.
Mark Craig and Trent Boult added some pesky runs, but Khawaja completed a neat step-over routine on the long-on boundary to dismiss the latter and close the innings.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo