Australia vs New Zealand: Steve Smith out as Australia is 62-1 at lunch on Day 1 of 1st test

| | Wellington (New Zealand)
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Australia vs New Zealand: Steve Smith out as Australia is 62-1 at lunch on Day 1 of 1st test

Thursday, 29 February 2024 | AP | Wellington (New Zealand)

Australia vs New Zealand: Steve Smith out as Australia is 62-1 at lunch on Day 1 of 1st test

Australia lost the wicket of Steve Smith within sight of lunch Thursday on the first day of the first cricket test against New Zealand.

At the break, Usman Khawaja was 28 not out, Marnus Labushagne was 1 and Australia was 62-1.

Khawaja and Smith had looked like steering Australia through the first session without loss after New Zealand had won the toss.

But Smith was on 33 and there was just over 10 minutes to the break when Matt Henry produced a good-length ball which moved away late and caught the outside edge of Smith's bat. Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell took the catch diving in front of first slip.

Australia still would be relatively comfortable with its position at lunch after losing only one wicket in testing conditions.

When the covers at the Basin Reserve were peeled off after light rain overnight and in the early morning, they revealed a bright green pitch and New Zealand captain Tim Southee was happy to bowl on winning the toss.

His opposite Pat Cummins also intended to bowl; it was a rare occasion when two teams in a test match are led by fast bowlers.

Once again, there was not as much life in the pitch as its appearance suggested. New Zealand used all four of its seamers in the first session but failed to persist with a productive length and didn't enjoy the success it probably expected.

There was a little swing in overcast conditions and some seam when the ball grabbed on a well-grassed pitch and when the seam was presented correctly.

Southee beat Khawaja's bat on a few occasions but was inconsistent in his line and length. Henry hit the best length but didn't find the assistance he needed at first bowling around the wicket.

Will O'Rourke seemed the sharpest of the New Zealand bowlers as he attempted to follow his 9-93 against South Africa, the best match figures by a New Zealander on debut. Scott Kugeleijn also was named to play his second test after his debut against England a year ago.

Smith and Khawaja seemed in no hurry to score in the first session, simply to survive the early threat of the new ball. Khawaja played the best scoring shot of the morning when he pulled a shortish ball from Southee for six behind square.

He had a moment of alarm when he was 18 and was struck low on the front pad by Kuggelejin. New Zealand's appeal was turned down and when the decision was reviewed the replay showed the ball missing leg. Khawaja also edged a ball which fell just short of first slip near lunch.

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