It was another exciting 2nd day’s play between Australia and New Zealand played at the Optious Stadium, Perth on Friday.
Starting on the overnight score of 248 for 4, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head started on a positive note with good stroke play. It was a good batting display by both batsmen. Neil Wagner provided the relief by getting the wicket of Labuschagne bowling him around the legs. Travis Head and Labuschagne added 76 runs for the 5th wicket. Head reached his fifty off 86 balls and was soon dismissed by Tim Southee for 56. New Zealand got a chance to run out Pat Cummins but could not do it. At the end of first session, Australia were 337 for 6.
The 2nd session saw Pat Cummins and Tim Paine batting with cautious approach. There was some tight bowling by the New Zealand bowlers. Jeet Raval got the breakthrough for New Zealand dismissing Pat Cummins around the legs. Pat Cummins and Tim Paine added 38 runs for the 7th wicket. Mitchell Starc came to the crease and hit some quick-fire runs scoring 30 off 41 balls. Starc and Paine added 45 runs for the 8th wicket. Starc was brilliantly caught by Kane Williamson running behind. Neil Wagner got his 4th wicket dismissing Nathan Lyon. Tim Southee got the wicket of Tim Paine with a tickle on leg side. Australia were bowled out for 416 runs in the 1st innings. The umpires decided tea break.
It was an ideal start for the Australian team as Mitchell Starc dismissed Tom Latham in the first over. Josh Hazlewood bowled a beauty to dismiss Jeet Raval to put New Zealand under pressure at 1 for 2. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor survived few anxious moments. Josh Hazlewood hobbled out of the field due to left hamstring injury. The experienced New Zealand duo played with positive intent and put pressure on Australian bowling line up. With less than half an hour left for close of play, Mitchell Starc dismissed Kane Williamson with a stunning one-handed catch by Steve Smith diving to his right. Williamson and Taylor added 76 runs for the 3rd wicket. Starc then dismissed Henry Nicholls and Neil Wagner in successive deliveries.
Ross Taylor on the other hand looked composed and reached his fifty off 70 balls. BJ Watling came to the crease and did not open his account. Taylor hit the final ball of the day for a boundary to remain not out on 66. New Zealand ended the 2nd day on 109 for 5.
New Zealand 109 for 5 in 32 overs ( Ross Taylor 66*, Kane Williamson 34, Mitchell Starc 4/31) trail Australia 416 in 146.2 overs ( Marnus Labuschagne 143, Travis Head 56, Tim Paine 39, Neil Wagner 4/92, Tim Southee 4/93) by 307 runs.