The Australian cricket team were in fine form against neighbours, New Zealand, right from Thursday. First and foremost, it was Marnus Labuschagne, who gave the Kiwi bowlers plenty of nightmares. Finally Neil Wagner broke through his defence and scalped his wicket, and Labuschagne departed on a mighty 143. When it was the Kiwi’s turn to bat, the Aussie bowlers and fielders picked up where their batsmen left off, led by Steve Smith.
On the fielding side of things, Steve Smith almost seemed like if he was not a cricketer, he would be an acrobat. Off the bowling of Mitchell Starc, Smith took a flying leap to his right to catch the ball in mid-air and dismiss Kane Williamson.
Australia, bolstered by Labuschagne’ 143, went on to score a grand total of 416, with a half century from Travis Head, and 43 runs each from David Warner and Steve Smith. New Zealand had a nightmare start, losing both openers early, before Williamson and Ross Taylor steadied the ship.
Unfortunately, Williamson would later succumb, courtesy Steve Smith and his high-flying catch. This left Taylor on 66 runs and in desperate need of a steadfast partner. Mitchell Starc turned out to be the Kiwi’s kryptonite, as he scalped several wickets and left them reeling.
Williamson dodged a bullet, early in the session, when a thin edge – picked up by snicko – evaded the attention of every Australian but Smith. Unfortunately for Steve, his lone appeal and brief attempt to call for a review was ignored by skipper Tim Paine.
Paine himself, was in a bit of pain, following a couple of blows to his right index finger. The early loss of Hazlewood from the attack even had Paine resorting to Matthew Wade’s speculative right-arm mediums inside the first 10 overs. The good news for the home team is that they seem to be in a good position.