Both Australia and New Zealand will be satisfied with proceedings on the opening Day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The Black Caps didn’t let any partnership turn monumental and also kept a check on the run-flow. For the Aussies, a lot will depend on Steve Smith, who remained unbeaten after the first day’s play with the hosts ending on 257/4 in 90 overs.
Australia keep the scoreboard moving
The Kiwis got off to an incredible start after electing to field first. Trent Boult castled Joe Burns for a golden duck in the very first over. David Warner (41) and Marnus Labuschagne (63) restored sanity into proceedings with a 60-run stand. Neil Wagner came to the party and got rid of the in-form Warner in the 22nd over before Australia went into Lunch at 67 for the loss of a couple of wickets.
Thereafter, Steve Smith (77*) and Labuschagne took charge and added 83 runs for the third wicket. Labuschagne, patiently, got to his fifty off 132 balls, but couldn’t carry on. Colin de Grandhomme rattled his woodwork to pick the third Aussie wicket. Matthew Wade (38), who had a pretty rough time in the Day-Night Perth Test, joined Smith in the middle and had the chance of making amends.
Steve Smith stands his ground
The duo carried the Aussies to Test with the score at 155 for three in 55 overs. Smith and Wade’s partnership fetched 72 runs and it also took the home team past the 200-run mark. Wade was looking good, having hit three fours, however, De Grandhomme found his outside-edge to cut short his knock. In the final session, Smith showed resilience and notched yet another fifty off 103 balls.
Smith didn’t have a great Test series against Pakistan due to which Virat Kohli leapfrogged him as ICC’s number-one Test batter. Smith slowed down in the last session and didn’t give his wicket away. Travis Head (25) also didn’t succumb to the pressure and gave Smith company in an unbeaten stand of 41 off 99 balls. Smith and Head will be looking to turn the screws on New Zealand on Day two.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the first day’s play
Pronouncing his name is easier now than getting him out. What a batsman! #Labuschagne #AUSvsNZ #BoxingDay pic.twitter.com/WUhRKzg5FO
— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) December 26, 2019
Well that was weird….Marnus again looking very comfortable! He has absolutely taken to Test cricket like a duck to water!!
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) December 26, 2019
Big ups to the @BLACKCAPS supporters who have jumped the ditch! Atmosphere sounds incredible on the box! Sounds like a home game! #BoxingDayTest #AUSvNZ
— Mitchell McClenaghan (@Mitch_Savage) December 26, 2019
Imagine not knowing cricket but it’s Boxing Day and you’re with the new family so you’ll sit down and give it a crack. You reckon you’re starting to get the hang of the rules then the scorecard pops up and there’s a god damn duck sitting there
— Jimmy Neesham (@JimmyNeesh) December 25, 2019
It's that time again… #AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/Z34sURy3uz
— Manya (@CSKian716) December 26, 2019
Huge Kiwi Support at the G … !! @FoxCricket
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 25, 2019
What a start for The Blackcaps!!! An absolute beauty from Trent Boult! #AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/3r5v7RzCf2
— Cricket District (@cricketdistrict) December 25, 2019
Did Shane Warne walk into Advanced Hair & say "give me the Hitler Youth look please"#AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/ZYwIOSddv6
— G Banger Bimbo (@thetopjob) December 26, 2019
This man, always giving it his all in everything 👏 #AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/SxOvbvvLDm
— ICC (@ICC) December 26, 2019
Who wore it better? #AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/fhbEv0dvJt
— Jimmy Rustler (@dotarding) December 25, 2019
I love it when Steve Smith tries to school other people on what’s within the laws of the game. #AUSvNZ
— Michael Appleton (@michelappleton) December 26, 2019
Another record broken in Melbourne – this time, by the spectators! 👥
80,473 fans at the MCG today – the largest-ever crowd for a day of an #AUSvNZ Test 🙌
Test cricket ♥ pic.twitter.com/Pnklw9i92L
— ICC (@ICC) December 26, 2019
Smith v Wagner #BoxingDayTest #AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/CDfJqV1VRc
— Kourageous ✨✨✨ (@AN_EVILSOUL) December 26, 2019
MCG crowd has already surpassed the previous Boxing Day record for a non-Ashes Test of 73,812 v South Africa in 1997-98 #AusvNZ
— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) December 26, 2019
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