It was an interesting day of play as Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne led the charge for Australia on the 1st day of 2nd Test match played at iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, MCG on Thursday.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to field first. Trent Boult who did not play in the first Test match due to an injury got the Kiwis off to a perfect start as he got Joe Burns with a beauty off the 4th ball of the match. David Warner looked positive with his stroke play and put pressure on New Zealand bowlers. Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee kept a tight line and length not allowing Australian batsmen to score runs with ease. Neil Wagner got the wicket of Warner with a stunning one-handed catch by Tim Southee for 41. Warner and Labuschagne added 60 runs for the 2nd wicket. Australia went into the lunch break at 67 for 2.
In the 2nd session, the New Zealand pacers kept a tight lid on Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Boult, Wagner and Southee did not allow both batsmen to score runs easily. Both Australian batsmen took on Mitchell Santer which made life tough for the New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Smith and Labuschagne survived few anxious moments. Labuschagne brilliant form continued as he reached his fifty off 132 balls. Colin de Grandhomme provided the breakthrough for New Zealand getting the wicket of Labuschagne which hit the elbow and hit stumps. Smith and Labuschagne added 83 runs for the 3rd wicket. New Zealand fought back lately which made the session even. At tea break, Australia were 155 for 3.
Soon after the tea break, Steve Smith reached his half-century off 103 balls. Matthew Wade looked in good touch with positive stroke play. Wade survived few times with the ball not carrying to slips, inside edge and play miss. Colin de Grandhomme got the breakthrough dismissing Wade for 38. Wade and Smith added 72 runs for the 4th wicket. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson took the second new ball immediately. Smith and Travis Head looked confident against Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Both have added so far 41 runs for the 5th wicket. Australia ended the first day on 257 for 4.
Australia 257 for 4 in 90 overs ( Steve Smith 77*, Marnus Labuschagne 63, Colin de Grandhomme 2/48, Neil Wagner 1/40)