It was a hard fought first day’s play between Australia and New Zealand on the 1st day of the 1st Test match played at Optious Stadium, Perth on Thursday.
Australian captain Tim Paine won the toss and decided to bat first. David Warner looked impressive with his stroke play against Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson. His opening partner Joe Burns struggled. At the stroke of first hour, Colin de Grandhomme got the breakthrough dismissing Burns for 9. Warner and Burns added 40 runs for the opening wicket. Marnus Labuschagne looked compact with his technique. A one-handed stunning catch by Neil Wagner ended Warner’s innings for 43. Labuschagne and Warner added 35 runs for the 2nd wicket. The New Zealand bowlers kept a tight line and length not allowing Australian batsmen to score runs with ease. Australia went into the first session at 76 for 2.
In the 2nd session, Neil Wagner bowled with venom troubling Steve Smith. Labuschagne continued his superb form in Test cricket with good stroke play against tight bowling. Smith was dropped by Ross Taylor at slips. Labuschagne hit the bad balls away for boundaries and reached his fifty off 102 balls. Smith looked composed with his technique despite surviving anxious moments. Australia were 160 for 2 at the end of 2nd session.
The New Zealand bowlers continued their disciplined bowling effort by not allowing Australian batsmen to score runs easily. Marnus Labuschagne looked composed with his stroke play and made the batting look comfortable. Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santer bowled tight line and lengths. Lockie Ferguson making his Test debut could not bowl in the final session as he was suffering from calf injury. Neil Wagner provided the breakthrough for New Zealand dismissing Steve Smith with a bouncer which went into Southee hands. Smith and Labuschagne added 132 runs for the 3rd wicket. After the drinks break, Labuschagne hit his 3rd century off 166 balls with a six off Mitchell Santer’s bowling. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson took the new ball immediately after 80 overs.
Tim Southee bowled a stunning delivery to dismiss Matthew Wade for 12. Despite New Zealand bowling well, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne took Australia to 248 for 4 at stumps.
Australia 248 for 4 in 90 overs ( Marnus Labuschagne 110*, David Warner 43, Neil Wagner 2/52, Tim Southee 1/53)