1st Test

Australia v New Zealand, 2011-12

Mark Geenty

At Brisbane, December 1-4, 2011. Australia won by nine wickets. Toss: New Zealand. Test debuts: J. L. Pattinson, M. A. Starc, D. A. Warner.

The series started under overcast skies, and Australia's remodelled pace attack was soon in action. With three frontline fast bowlers injured, it included two of the match's three debutants; not surprisingly, they struggled at first. Brendon McCullum tried to back up New Zealand's tough pre-match talk and seize control, starting with three boundaries in the first over as the 21-year-old James Pattinson struggled to settle. By the 11th over, New Zealand were 44 without loss - but it was too fast, too soon, and they lost five wickets for 52 amid a flurry of reckless strokes. Mitchell Starc, a tall left-armer from Sydney - also 21 - could barely believe his luck as loose strokes handed him his first two Test wickets.

An unlikely duo then combined to add 158, a New Zealand sixth-wicket record against Australia. Perth native Dean Brownlie, in his second Test for his father's country of birth, was dropped twice when three, by Clarke at slip and at point by David Warner (Australia's third debutant, having finally shaken off the tag of Twenty20 specialist). Vettori, in his second match since handing over the captaincy, dug in beside him and the pair dispatched the bad balls. Vettori had never scored a century against Australia and, after a brisk three- hour innings, was finally on the cusp. But at 96 he rashly decided to take on Hussey's arm from mid-off, and lost. Brownlie batted a tick over four hours, and was still undefeated when Lyon polished off the innings for what New Zealand believed was a reasonable 295.

Australia's reply swung on a vital let-off for Clarke, at 141 for three, when he was bowled off the inside edge by Bracewell - but umpire Asad Rauf muted New Zealand's celebrations, calling for a TV replay which revealed a no-ball. Clarke - 23 at the time - thundered on, although he was let off again at 83, by wicketkeeper Young, and by Ryder at third slip when 105. Bracewell was the unlucky bowler each time. Things got worse for Young, who was struck in the face by a Vettori delivery and departed with a towel pressed to his mouth, later returning with a dozen stitches in his top lip. While he was off the field McCullum kept wicket, without pads.

Clarke and Haddin put on 108 to place Australia in the box seat. Later, Starc was dropped by Taylor second ball, New Zealand's third miss of the innings, and survived an hour for 32 as the lead stretched to 132. It proved crucial. Third-innings collapses have become a New Zealand trademark, and - in the best batting conditions of the Test - they did it again here. First Pattinson charged in, hit his stride, and nicked out McCullum late on the third evening. Then on a remarkable fourth morning, he took three wickets in four deliveries. Guptill fended to short leg, and Williamson, looking a little overawed up the order, drove loosely at his first ball before nicking the second. Taylor completed a forgettable Test by edging one he shouldn't have played at; his first-ball dismissal was his first duck in his 59th Test innings (only A. B. de Villiers, with 78, and Aravinda de Silva, with 75, played more innings before their first duck). Ryder only just survived a nasty yorker from the hat-trick delivery, which shaved past off stump.

The nightwatchman Bracewell soon followed, making it 28 for five and giving Pattinson the dream figures of 7-5-7-5. Brownlie again put up a fight, but his 42 in 127 minutes was the top score as New Zealand folded in less than 50 overs. Australia's only casualty in their small run-chase was Hughes, who edged to Guptill the ball after being dropped by McCullum, also in the slips. But that was little consolation for New Zealand, who flew down to Hobart with a chorus of derision from home, and knowing they had to bat - and catch - much better.

Man of the Match: J. L. Pattinson.

Close of play: First day, New Zealand 176-5 (Brownlie 32, Vettori 45); Second day, Australia 154-3 (Ponting 67, Clarke 28); Third day, New Zealand 10-1 (Guptill 7, Bracewell 0).

© John Wisden & Co.