Wellington: It was supposed to be Brendon McCullum's day but rival captain Steve Smith stole the limelight as Australia ended Day One of the first Test against hosts New Zealand firmly in command on Friday.
Smith called correctly at the toss, sent New Zealand in on a green top at Basin Reserve and within two sessions, the innings was over for 183.
Australia reached 147-3 at stumps, just 36 runs behind New Zealand but with seven wickets in hand. Captain Smith made 71. Usman Khawaja was batting on 57 with Adam Voges on seven.
Voges was bowled by Doug Bracewell in the final over of the day only for umpire Richard Illingworth to call it a no-ball. Replays indicated it was a legitimate delivery.
Aussie pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle ripped through the New Zealand top order in conditions ripe for seam and swing.
Their cause was helped by some injudicious shot selection, including by skipper McCullum, who saw his 100th Test celebrations fall flat when he was out for a duck. He did not get forward far enough to a Hazlewood special that came back, took an inside edge and deflected off the pads to David Warner at third slip.
After McCullum had received a rousing ovation when he walked to the middle, there was silence when he walked off after facing seven deliveries.
That the New Zealand innings lasted 48 overs was thanks to lusty tail-end hitting with the last three wickets contributing 86 after Hazlewood and Siddle had reduced the side to 97-7.
All seven dismissals came from edges to the cordon behind the wicket with wicketkeeper Peter Nevill snaring four catches including a superb one-handed diving effort to remove Kane Williamson down the leg-side.
New Zealand were reeling at 51 for five in the 12th over before a determined knock by Corey Anderson, who with BJ Watling went about stopping the tumble of wickets.
New Zealand had a glimmer of hope that their cause was not lost at the start of the Australian innings when Tim Southee snapped up two early wickets.
Joe Burns went in the first over without scoring and David Warner followed soon after for five.
But Smith and Usman Khawaja then took control and proved the pitch was playable as they put on 126 for the third wicket.
Smith offered a chance on 18 but was dropped by Craig at second slip. Craig, however, made no mistake with the second offering from the Australian captain taking a return catch off his own bowling. - AFP
Published Date: Feb 12, 2016 02:04 pm | Updated Date: Feb 12, 2016 02:06 pm