Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day December 1, 2011

Australia on top on truncated day


New Zealand 5 for 176 (Vettori 45*, Brownlie 32*, Starc 2-52) v Australia
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The first day of Australia's home Test summer ended in gloom, only 51 overs bowled as bad light and rain closed in on the Gabba late in the second session. But for Australia's fans, the darkness overhead was of less consequence than the several bright spots they saw on the field, on a day when three debutants helped give Australia the edge over New Zealand.

Mitchell Starc swung the ball impressively and collected two wickets, James Pattinson also curved the ball in the air and picked up one, and David Warner snaffled a pair of catches to ensure all three men will remember their first day of Test cricket with fondness. By the close of play, New Zealand had steadied through Daniel Vettori and Dean Brownlie, whose stand had reached 80, but plenty more work was required.

When the players left the field shortly before the scheduled tea break - they didn't get back on - New Zealand were 5 for 176, with Vettori on 45 and Brownlie on 32. Viewed as the result of a day when Ross Taylor had won the toss and chosen to bat, it was a disappointing outcome for New Zealand; but seen in the context of their early collapse, it was a solid fightback.

In the first over after lunch, the visitors stumbled to 5 for 96 when Jesse Ryder was caught at point by Warner when he failed to find the gap off Starc. The sixth wicket could easily have fallen soon afterwards as Brownlie was dropped twice on 3, first when Michael Clarke grassed a sitter at first slip off Peter Siddle, and then when Warner couldn't cling on to a tough chance at point off Starc.

Playing against the country where he was born and raised, Brownlie had some nervous moments, leading edges landing safe and unconvincing shots played. But he hung in and slowly warmed into his routine, and by the end of the day he had played a couple of strong shots, including a powerful cut behind point for four off Starc.

Vettori played his natural game, compiling the runs at a reasonable pace without taking many risks, and the Australians needed a breakthrough to ensure their promising morning wasn't wasted. The attack was as green as the baggy caps that were liberally dispensed on the first morning at the Gabba but by lunch they had put their team firmly on top.

Starc picked up the key wicket of Brendon McCullum and his fellow first-gamer James Pattinson removed the New Zealand captain Taylor to leave the visitors on 4 for 94 at lunch. It was a disappointing effort from New Zealand after they had chosen to bat on a cloudy Brisbane morning, all the more so because the openers McCullum and Martin Guptill had taken the score to 44 without loss.

But Siddle broke the opening stand and the offspinner Nathan Lyon, who had never bowled at the Gabba, also struck when given an early opportunity by Clarke. While the New Zealand batsmen had contributed to their own demises on a pitch a little on the slow side, conditions were not easy as there was some swing in the first session, exploited especially well by Starc.

Auditioning for a long-term role in the team in the absence of his fellow left-armer Mitchell Johnson, Starc showed an ability to consistently swing the ball in to the right-handers and it was that talent that troubled McCullum. Earlier McCullum had pounced on width outside off, striking three boundaries in the first over of the match as Pattinson struggled to find his line.

But against Starc, McCullum had no room and twice was cramped up awkwardly, including once when a bouncer straightened and struck him on the helmet. Starc moved around the wicket to McCullum and had him caught for 34 when his cut was snapped up at point by Warner.

Already Siddle had made a breakthrough when Guptill drove at a ball that moved away just a fraction and was caught behind for 13, and two wickets was a good start for Australia. There was more to come, though, with Kane Williamson struggling to move his feet against the offspin of Lyon, who was supported by the captain Clarke with a leg-slip who nearly came into play when Williamson tickled a ball fine.

Soon enough Williamson's hesitance against the spin brought his downfall, his lunge forward resulting in an inside edge on to his leg that was snapped up at short leg for 19. Three wickets would have been a fine session for Australia but it became an even better one when Taylor handed Pattinson his maiden Test wicket.

Pattinson had been nervous early but on his return swung the ball impressively. However, it was a full and wide ball that accounted for Taylor (14), who tried for a powerful square drive only to see the ball rocket off his inside edge and back onto his stumps, a disappointing way for the captain to depart having chosen to bat in challenging conditions.

By the end of the truncated day, the team had recovered somewhat. But as has too often been the case in recent years, much responsibility would rest on Vettori, who must again fight off Australia's enthusiastic attack on the second day.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on December 2, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    @davidpk - I reckon Nassir Hussain knows its not a "win toss and bowl ground". The GABBA is an illusion, most of the time. Yes it does help the bowlers, but because it almost always has a Green tinge, people think it'll seam sideways. Rarely does. Even when Hadlee killed us 26yrs ago - he didn't swing or seam it that much, just enough. The GABBA always gives the bowlers a chance, but its a ground, that if you get in, you should be able to get a 100. The GABBA has been uncharactoristically slow the last couple of seasons, last years Ashes was unseasonably cold/cool, this year was warmer, but nowhere near the searing hot days of summer that we usually have. That means the pace & bounce is limited. The GABBA dies during the Ashes because it didn't bake under 30C+ temperature.

  • Merv on December 2, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    Thank goodness for the spinner. How bad were the 'young guns"? Short garbage all the time down the leg side, trying to bowl too fast. No saviours there. They should have played Cutting on his home ground. He has a great record there with more wickets than Starc and Pattison combined in his career.

  • Randolph on December 2, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    Good to see the poms staying interested. They're prolly starting to get nervous with all these young guns. Wait until we release Coulter Nile on them.

  • Matthew on December 1, 2011, 23:33 GMT

    @NIGHTWING32, spot on. @CLAYDO78, No I don't think Aust would beat England at the moment, and India will be tough although I do think Aust can beat them this summer if things come together quickly. By your logic, Australia should not have selected Cummins (he has played only 4 FC games), in which case Aust would have lost the 2nd test in Sth Africa and they wouldn't have unearthed a match-winner. New coach Mickey Arthur said the Aust cricket public should be realistic and that it will take a couple of years before Aust can get back to being the best test team again. Basically you're not realistic and have no patience, and the only team you would really get behind is one in which every player is one you would have picked, which fortunately is not how selection works.

  • david on December 1, 2011, 23:30 GMT

    still not sure under the conditions win the toss and bat. the forecast was bad so it looked as if it would be a shortend day and overcast. as nz dont have perticular fast bowlers it would have suited. and its not as if the wicket is going to be bad to bat on later in the game. strange, iv only been 2/3 days to the gaba but most of the other posters who know the ground do not seem to see it as a win toss and bowl ground.dpk

  • Andrew on December 1, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    @Tony Watson - brainfart! Love it - that's GOLD! @Jeremy Cole - "..Maddinson got picked for Aus A with a whopping average of 28 so far this year - do you ever see that kind of selection for non-NSW players?" - umm Mitch Marsh? == == == I didn't get to see alot of the Match, from what I did see, the Oz bowlers were good but guilty of the odd bad ball. To NZs credit - they wanted to punish the bat ball, but lacked execution in their strokes. Vettorri as usal showed spine, Oz ahead, but not by much, the morning session will be important. I think all those that said that NZ should of bowled first - don't really know too much about GABBA history. The pitch for tests - always has Green in it on the first day - but is a bat first pitch. Taylor made the right decision to bat, given his best bowler is a spinner, IF NZ can get two reasonable totals together - chasing 200 on the last day may not be easy. Alot depends on this morning session!

  • Dummy4 on December 1, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    The biggest problem with this NZ side is an absence of guts, Vetorri aside. We play at out best when there is no pressure. Mark my words, McCullum, Guptill, Ryder and Taylor will play a lot better in the seconds innings, unfortunately what we really need are players that can play well in both innings of a test match.

    On another note, there is no way McCullum is or will ever be a test match opening batsman. His temperament and skill set is not suited to it...unfortunately it seems to be a case of the tail wagging the dog when it comes to his selection!

    Rant over.....

  • Dummy4 on December 1, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    Quite frustrating we go in there after talking ourselves up all week and show no respect for a team that is weaker than usual but still better than us - We are number 8 after all and they are number 4 and they just won a test in SA while we almost lost to Zim. No respect for their bowling or the fact it is the first day of a test and look what happened - Horrible shot selection, impatient, and just immature / arrogant batting. It baffles me that Vetorri time and again out bats our top order. It appears to me he is simply more intelligent than the guys before him and assesses the situation better. His technique is all over the show but he still performs and usually scores at a good rate. We play well against an Australia A team and bring over confidence to a test against Aussie in Aussie and at the GABBA of all places. If Aussie bowled really well and simply out played us I can accept that as that is what sport is all about. But when we falter due to what appears to be just poor cricket

  • David on December 1, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    Vettori is a true legend. How come New Zealand can only have one good player holding the torch at any one time? Its been like this since as long as I can remember. Hadlee,Crowe,Flemming(as captain),Cairns,Vettori. Whos next??????? Taylor maybe? still always seems to fail when I sit down to watch him.

  • Randolph on December 1, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Siddle has been the worse choice as I have so often predicted. His hobby is getting carted around grounds it appears. Lyon looked impressive, I am happy we are giving him a continual run.

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