AUS vs NZ, 3rd Test: Labuschagne, Smith help Aussies post a solid total on Day 1

Day One of the ongoing third Test between Australia and New Zealand came to an end with the Aussies putting up a solid total of 283 at the loss of three wickets at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground.   

The day started with Australian skipper Tim Paine winning the toss and electing to bat first. Just like he said the previous day, the Aussies came into the match with no change while the Kiwis had to take some tough decisions because Kane Williamson was ruled out of the game after having flu-like symptoms. Tom Latham has been given the task to lead the side in his absence.

The players walked out to the ground by wearing black bands on their jerseys to pay respect to all the people who have lost their lives in the bushfire that have engulfed the country.

Aussie openers David Warner and Joe Burns gave a good start at the top of the order with Warner continuing his great form with the bat. He played some glorious shots at the start and gave a solid foundation to the Australian innings. Meanwhile, when it seemed like both the batsmen have made themselves comfortable at the crease, Kiwi medium-pacer Colin de Grandhomme provided the much-needed breakthrough.

De Grandhomme pitched it up and forced Joe Burns to play the shot. With the help of some late swing, Burns got the outside edge and ball went nicely to Ross Taylor at the first slip. Burns scored 18 off 39 deliveries.

Coming at number three, Marnus Labuschagne started his knock by hitting two boundaries in De Grandhomme’s over and after that, there was no looking back for the batsman. On the other hand, right-arm pacer Matt Henry was continuously hitting the good areas and posed some difficulties for the Australian batsmen.

But it was Neil Wagner who took the much-needed wicket of Warner at the score of 45.

Walking in at number 4, former Australian skipper Steven Smith took his time to score his first run. He spent 45 minutes at the crease and played 39 deliveries to get off the mark. In the process, he became the first Australian batsman in the last 20 years to take as many deliveries to open his account.

But once he did, he showed what kind of player he is. Labuschagne and Smith continued to score runs on almost every ball and gave no chances to the Kiwi bowlers. Labuschagne scored the first half-century of 2020 and converted it into a big hundred on the first day of the Test match.

This was Labuschagne’s fourth century in the last 12 matches and has 7 half-centuries to his name too.

Smith also completed his half-century in the 70th over and tool almost 143 deliveries to achieve the milestone before getting out at the score of 63. It was Grandhomme’s second wicket of the day. At the end of the day, Labuschagne was still playing some really exquisite strokes to tell the world how better he has become while Matthew Wade is still fresh to the crease and will look to play a big knock for his team.

Nothing went well for the Kiwi bowlers. Henry and Neil Wagner did their jobs with precision but kept on giving juicy half-volleys to the Aussie batsmen. Will Somerville looked ineffective on Day One but his role will be crucial as the Test progresses. They are definitely missing the services of experienced bowlers like Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

Score On Day One –

Australia 283/3* (Marnus Labuschagne 130*, Steven Smith 63; Colin de Grandhomme 2/63) vs New Zealand.