Recent Match Report – New Zealand vs Australia 1st Test 2023/24

Tea New Zealand 42 for 5 (Phillips 8*, Blundell 5*, Starc 1-4) trail Australia 383 (Green 174*, Marsh 40, Henry 5-70) by 341 runs

Kane Williamson was run out for a duck in a horrendous mix-up as New Zealand’s torrid day two continued after Cameron Green’s spectacular century lifted Australia to an imposing first innings of 383 in challenging conditions at Basin Reserve.

Having been put to the sword by Green, who finished unbeaten on 174 and combined in a record tenth-wicket partnership of 116 with Josh Hazlewood, a flustered New Zealand sank further in the first Test when they lost three wickets for no runs in the space of six deliveries.

Daryl Mitchell and Will Young showed brief resistance but fell in successive deliveries to leave the capacity crowd stunned as New Zealand reached tea in big trouble at 42 for 5.

Australia’s four seamers were relentless and each took a wicket with spinner Nathan Lyon not yet brought into the attack.

New Zealand had high hopes of mustering a strong reply amid sunny conditions with the pitch appearing to be flattening out, as is often the case at Basin Reserve. But it didn’t eventuate as they crashed to 29 for 5 with uneven bounce still evident as the ball reared from divots.

Mitchell Starc, playing his first Test in New Zealand, aimed to bowl full but it was a good-length delivery that had opener Tom Latham uncertain about whether to play or not as he chopped onto his stumps to trigger a collapse.

Williamson, who scored three tons in four innings against South Africa, was run out in a mix-up just two balls later. He set off for a single only to collide into Young, who was ball-watching, as Marnus Labuschagne hit the stumps with a direct throw from short range.

In the next over, Rachin Ravindra was enticed to drive by a full and wide delivery from Josh Hazlewood only to slice to Lyon, who held onto a good catch at point.

Due to the predicament, Mitchell had to curb his aggressiveness and scored just 7 off his first 35 deliveries until whacking a short delivery from Pat Cummins to the boundary. But on the next ball, he nicked off a brilliant length delivery from Cummins, who is also playing his first Test in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s spirit was seemingly crushed by the earlier onslaught by Green, who smashed 71 runs to completely dominate a prolonged first session.

After stamping himself as Australia’s No. 4 with a brilliant century on the opening day of the series, Green toyed with New Zealand’s flustered attack through a combination of power and placement. His 275-ball masterclass included 23 boundaries and five sixes.

He combined with Hazlewood, who made 22 off 62 balls, in a 116-run partnership that overtook Australia’s previous highest last-wicket stand against New Zealand, of 114 when Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie famously combined at the Gabba in 2004.

Their partnership was considerably the highest of the innings. The last time that a tenth-wicket stand topped an Australia innings was in 2015 against West Indies when Adam Voges and Hazlewood added 97 runs in Roseau.

It was a bitter disappointment for New Zealand, who at one point seemed likely to bowl Australia out for under 200. Their quicks were ragged at times with New Zealand conceding 41 extras. Matt Henry claimed a deserved five-wicket haul after being the standout bowler throughout the innings.

Resuming at 279 for 9, Australia eyed a score of 300 but Green had other ideas as he continued from his day one heroics. Green played smartly and didn’t go for broke immediately with the field spread and only one slip in place.

Green scored only seven runs in the first 30 minutes until he swung a short delivery from Henry over deep square leg and into the crowd to bring up Australia’s 300. The same shot took him past his highest Test score of 114.

He continued muscling New Zealand’s frustrated attack around with power-hitting and brought up his 150 after hammering a short delivery from Will O’Rourke for six on the leg side.

When Hazlewood did face up, he defended well and also unfurled several attractive strokes in his highest Test score in five years, having gone 27 innings without making more than 11.

Play was extended by 30 minutes, with Australia being nine wickets down, and Henry finally got the breakthrough when he had Hazlewood chipping to mid-off.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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