Bowlers dominate early in day-night Test
Australia 2 for 54 (Smith 24*, Voges 9*) trail New Zealand 202 (Latham 50, Starc 3-24, Hazlewood 3-66) by 148 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was like Seinfeld's George Costanza was in charge of this day of Test cricket, during his "opposite" phase. The first of play at the Gabba and the WACA brought only two wickets each; at Adelaide Oval 12 wickets tumbled. At the Gabba and the WACA, Kane Williamson and David Warner both scored centuries in the first innings; at Adelaide Oval they were both out cheaply. At the Gabba and the WACA, crowds were small; at Adelaide Oval, the stands were packed.
And, of course, there was the small matter of a red ball and lunch versus a pink ball and dinner. Nothing worked out for George with tuna on toast, coleslaw and coffee, so he switched to chicken salad on rye, untoasted, with a cup of tea. It was a roaring success. So too the world's first experience of day-night Test cricket. At stumps, which came at 9.25pm, the match was evenly poised, which was no bad thing after the run-fests in Brisbane and Perth.
The evening finished with Australia at 2 for 54 in reply to New Zealand's 202. The final session had been challenging for the batsmen as 47,441 spectators watched Trent Boult and Tim Southee hoop the new ball around under lights. The openers both fell: Warner edged an outswinger to third slip off Boult for 1, and Joe Burns toiled valiantly for 14 off 41 balls before he chopped on off the bowling of Doug Bracewell. But Steven Smith and Adam Voges survived.
And they survived with the knowledge that batting might just get a little easier come the start of play at 2pm on the second afternoon. The curator had left extra grass on the pitch in an effort to help protect the pink ball but the surface played only a minor role in New Zealand's struggles with the bat. The Australians swung few deliveries. Some seamed, and Nathan Lyon extracted turn and bounce, but there were certainly no demons in the pitch.
Australia's bowlers for the most part plugged away at consistent lines and lengths, and built pressure the old-fashioned way. It helped that they had Peter Siddle back in the side for that purpose. He became the 15th Australian to the 200-wicket milestone in Tests, and he was miserly until the lower-order started to swing at him. Especially important was the way Siddle helped to build the pressure on Williamson.
For the first time in the series, Australia dismissed Williamson before he had reached a half-century. He moved briskly to 19 from 19 deliveries but the remaining 39 balls of his innings brought only three runs as the dots and maidens piled up. Williamson faced four maidens, including two from Siddle, and on 22 he walked across his stumps and was lbw to a straight yorker. The wicket went next to Mitchell Starc's name, but the attack as a unit had earned it.
That was one of three wickets for Starc, who finished with 3 for 24 from nine overs, his workload cut short when he was forced off the field due to ankle pain. It had the potential to be a significant blow for Australia, although they had little trouble running through the rest of the New Zealand order. Opener Tom Latham had been the only batsman to reach a half-century on the first day of Test cricket with a pink ball, and even he only just made it, out for 50.
The first run had been scored by his partner Martin Guptill, though he managed no more than that single. He was also the first man to fall to a pink ball in Test cricket, lbw to a Josh Hazlewood delivery that would have clipped the top of the bails, and it was a disappointing result for Guptill, who has scored heavily against the pink ball in the warm-up matches on this tour.
Guptill and Williamson were the only wickets to fall in the first session, but after the 20-minute tea break New Zealand wobbled. New Zealand's lost 3 for 4 in the space of 11 balls, starting with Latham, who was superbly taken on 50 by Peter Nevill; an attempted cut off Lyon was edged through and stuck in the tips of Nevill's gloves.
In the next over Siddle claimed his 199th Test wicket when he nipped one back and found the inside edge of Ross Taylor's bat - he was caught behind for 21. Then came a triumph of captaincy, Smith immediately recalling Starc to replace Lyon, who had just taken a wicket, so that Starc could have first chance at McCullum. Duly, McCullum slashed and top-edged behind on 4, Nevill taking another excellent catch.
Debutant Mitchell Santner showed some positive signs in his first Test innings and struck seven fours on his way to 31 before he was bowled by Starc. Lyon added another when he produced a perfect offbreak that gripped, turned and beat the bat of Mark Craig, who on 11 could only watch as the ball clipped the very top of his off stump.
After the 40-minute dinner break, as the post-workday crowd filed in to watch the first session of Test cricket completely under lights, they saw Australia clean up New Zealand's last three wickets cheaply. BJ Watling was taken at slip off Hazlewood for 29, Siddle claimed No.200 when Doug Bracewell chipped him to midwicket, and Southee holed out to mid-off for 16 to give Hazlewood his third.
Then came the sight everyone had been waiting for: the new pink ball swinging around in the evening. The contest was gripping, even if the runs came slowly for Australia. Survival was the order of the day - or night - and 2 for 54 from 22 overs before stumps seemed a fair reflection of the battle. It was certainly more of a tussle than 2 for 389 at stumps on day one in Brisbane, or 2 for 416 in Perth. It was, in every way, the opposite of those matches, and no bad thing for it.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale