New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington, 1st day February 12, 2016

Hazlewood four-for puts Australia on top

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Australia 147 for 3 (Smith 71, Khawaja 57*, Southee 2-22) trail New Zealand 183 (Craig 41*, Hazlewood 4-42, Siddle 3-37) by 36 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Farrell: Australia spoil McCullum's party

With a grim determination to right a few of last year's Ashes wrongs, Australia took command of the first Test against New Zealand to rain on Brendon McCullum's 100th Test parade and subdue a packed house at the Basin Reserve.

Starting with Steven Smith's correct call at the toss, the visitors did very little wrong on the opening day of the series, taking advantage of the earlier moisture in the pitch with the ball, then settling in at the crease after Tim Southee claimed Joe Burns and David Warner.

Smith was out just before the close, but Usman Khawaja remained in ominous touch as he maintains his ascent to truly rarified batting territory. He will be joined on the second morning by Adam Voges, who shouldered arms in the last over to Doug Bracewell and was bowled, only to be reprieved by Richard Illingworth's no-ball call. Replays indicated Bracewell may not have overstepped - a likely source of tension after the Mitchell Marsh episode in Hamilton.

Day one was always going to be an important time to set a marker for a contest spanning only two Tests, and it was Australia's seam attack that did the job. In doing so they put on the sort of bowling display that was too seldom seen in England despite helpful conditions. They have already gone some distance towards claiming the game's No. 1 ranking.

While Jackson Bird struggled on his return to Test cricket after a three-year absence, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle bowled exemplary lengths to probe for the outside and inside edges of the bat. Peter Nevill claimed four catches, the second a stunner when Siddle found Kane Williamson's inside edge. Nathan Lyon chimed in usefully after lunch to help round up the tail.

McCullum had enjoyed a proud morning, receiving a commemorative 100th Test cap, but he could only last a handful of balls before squeezing Hazlewood to the slip cordon. His bowlers were then unable to capitalise on the opening offered by Burns and Warner on a surface that eased for batting with every afternoon over.

The inclusions of Bird and Siddle indicated Australia's opinion of the pitch, and there was unmistakable relief on Smith's face when he sent McCullum in. Tom Latham and Martin Guptill began in a positive vein, but Hazlewood was extracting seam movement in both directions and it was a ball zipping away that coaxed a feather-edge from the left-hander - DRS was required to confirm it.

Hazlewood found an even better delivery for Guptill, who did little wrong in statuesque defence but could do nothing about the subtle seam movement that delivered a catch at head height to Smith. Bird was withdrawn from the attack after his first three overs cost 25, and Williamson punched his first ball down the ground.

But Siddle was not dissuaded from pursuing a full length, and second ball Williamson played slightly outside the line to snick past the stumps. Nevill re-transferred his weight and timed his lunge to perfection, the ball plopping softly into his left glove in a catch every wicketkeeper would be proud to claim.

The Australians, now surging, had another source of joy when McCullum could do nothing about a Hazlewood ball that seamed back and lobbed off bat and pad to David Warner. Henry Nicholls was drawn into pushing at Siddle and presented Nevill with his third catch of the morning on the stroke of drinks.

Corey Anderson and BJ Watling thus had a moment to compose themselves, and resolved to dig in. They managed to do so for the remainder of the session, Watling surviving a couple of close calls when he miscued a Mitchell Marsh delivery close to his own body, and when an LBW appeal and referral by Bird was found to have struck him marginally around the line of the off stump.

Watling could only last until the second over of the afternoon, done in by a Hazlewood delivery that bounced on a tight line and provided Nevill with another catch. Anderson's stern occupation was ended with an uncharacteristically half-hearted attempt to loft Lyon, before Southee sliced an attempted slog.

Mark Craig and Trent Boult added some pesky runs, but Khawaja completed a neat step-over routine near the boundary to dismiss the latter. There was some rum luck for Burns fourth ball of the innings, when his glove grazed a Southee delivery down the leg side and he was given out on referral, but Warner had only himself to blame for an intemperate swish in the bowler's next over.

It was telling for both sides that these wickets arrived as the result of misjudgments rather than unplayable deliveries. Southee and Doug Bracewell found a modicum of swing but there was no curve for Boult, who was unable to threaten in the way he would have wished despite the pace and bounce on offer.

Khawaja looked comfortable immediately, but Smith took some time to find the right rhythm for the occasion after a surfeit of limited-overs fixtures. Boundaries flowed regularly but there was also the occasional miscue - Smith skied one hook shot out of reach of the fielders, and was fortunate again when Craig grassed a low chance in the slips.

The runs, however, flowed steadily and the batsmen's security grew, allowing the partnership to develop into a significant one for the match. Craig made amends for his drop with a teasing spell in the final hour, beating Khawaja in flight and having the No. 3 edge past the stumps and Watling, before he claimed a low return catch from Smith. But if Australia's captain walked off annoyed at his dismissal, he could be more than satisfied with the day's work.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ThreePIllarTales on February 14, 2016, 7:42 GMT

    keep Usman for tests only.... such beautiful batting

  • seniorgators on February 13, 2016, 3:40 GMT

    @ Steven_Scott Never let the facts get in the road of your misconceived agenda. If you examine all the Test matches home and away over the last 7-10 years you will find that Australia has one of the BETTER away Test records of all nations. The very fact that if we win this series Australia will be ranked #1 in the ICC rankings should give you a pretty strong indicator that your subjective claim has missed the mark by a very long way. This ranking is based on EVERY home and away game played by EVERY nation over the last 3 years. So whilst we may have lost 3-2 to England in England, they lost 5-0 to us in OZ! Just on that example Oz are on a 70% winning ratio and England 30% ! or our away record is 40% and England's 0% Mmmmm. Starting to see the errors of your ways. Granted Oz's record on the sub continent has been poor but overall less poor than many countries records away from home.

  • espncricinfomobile on February 13, 2016, 1:31 GMT

    All these excuses from NZ That everyone condones.

  • baggygreenmania on February 12, 2016, 23:54 GMT

    The pundits are praising Smith's innings not for its briliant stroke play but for its patience and composure at a difficult time and on a still difficult pitch. You could not have been watching too closely not to have seen that. He, along with Usman, steadied the ship...something he has become master at since his return to test cricket.

  • baggygreenmania on February 12, 2016, 23:49 GMT

    How do we know that the Baggy Greens would not have handled the lively conditions better than did the Black Caps? We could also have been 4/5 down for under 100. Yet again we could have played the difficult conditions better and only lost one or two early wickets. Some poster, mostly Kiwis, are saying Australia sure got the rub of the green. Pure conjecture. History now.. as my "beloved "baggies" are in a strong position at lunch on the second day. Khawaja now has his fourth ton in his last four tests. Is in supreme form.

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on February 12, 2016, 23:46 GMT

    Methinks, if Australia lost the toss that there would have been much less talk of its importance. Nonetheless, given the movement at the end of the first day during the Bracewell no ball, I think that one side just coped with it better. NZ picked two opening swing bowlers. Probsbly a mistake.

  • Omar Jafri on February 12, 2016, 23:27 GMT

    Khawaja has got NZ's number, he looks very comfortable in the middle, bating with absolute ease, I am still amazed how he got overlooked in ist ODI over Shaun Marsh, that was a teaser!

  • android_user on February 12, 2016, 23:15 GMT

    so funny to read all the comments do you honestly think NZ is in the same class as Australia. They are a state side and that's about it!!

  • IndianInnerEdge on February 12, 2016, 23:07 GMT

    Awesome 1st day for Aus, enjoying Khwaja's batting, full of the exotic SC type of wristwork, some of his coverdriving very reminescent of a young Saeed Anwar, simply awesome....all in all, NZ need to strike quickly and get deep into aus lineup else its a leather hunt as probably the gras would have gone away after 2-3 rounds of rolling and best days for batting....should be an engrossing contest-as an indian fan-frankly was fed up of all the venom on the blogger boards, cant speak for/request for the others but wish my own fellow people would show some more appreciation and be less dissmissive on such blogger boards-cricinfo please publish

  • Sunil_Batra on February 12, 2016, 23:02 GMT

    Great 100 from Khawaja in tesring conditions, can we get Khawaja to open in all formats with Warner, it's time

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