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Cricket news - Live Cricket Score - Australia vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Perth

New Zealand will aim to win their first Test series in Australia since 1985-86

New Zealand will aim to win their first Test series in Australia since 1985-86

You can share your thoughts on the eagerly-awaited pink-ball Test in Perth via the Twitter handle, @fancricket12. Please refresh the blog for latest updates.

Smith finding his way...

Smith hasn't exactly been in sync with his triggers, but as expected he has hung in there. New Zealand, on the other hand, have bowled with good discipline. However, no reward so far in this session.

New Zealand go hard at Smith

Ferguson and Wagner went hard at Smith with short deliveries, with the Australian mainstay looking a bit tentative. However, he has survived so far. On the other hand, Marnus continues to add useful runs.

Ayush Bharadi @AyushStats @Fancricket12 That catch from Neil Wagner is a geniune example of NewZealand's CLASS on the cricket field. Always spirited and Ready for the Fight! #AUSvNZ #pinkballtestmatch 07:59 AM • Dec 12, 2019

Wagner, the wholehearted cricketer!

Colin de Grandhomme and Neil Wagner picked up a wicket each to ensure New Zealand shared honours in the first session of the pink ball Test against Australia in Perth.

Australia, who elected to bat, based on the fact that cracks could open up with the heat wave around, started on a good note. Lockie Ferguson, the tearaway, making his Test debut, bowled sharp nip-backers to cause problems to Joe Burns. He also got one to straighten to produce the edge of Burns's bat, only for it to not carry to the slip cordon.

However, Ferguson perhaps got carried away with the extra bounce and also bowled short. In an attempt to compensate for the short deliveries, he then ended up bowling half volleys, with Warner taking advantage of it and crashing a few drives. Burns also took a toll off Ferguson when the fast bowler dished a half-volley on leg-stump.

With the opening pace duo of Tim Southee and Ferguson not making the breakthrough, Colin de Grandhomme was introduced into the attack. The all-rounder made an impression with his unremitting control and trapped Burns in front. The all-rounder fond just enough swing and seam, with Burns getting stuck in the crease and paying the price.

Marnus Labuschagne, who joined Warner in the middle, looked in fine touch, and showcashed his class with a sublime drive off Mitchell Santner through extra cover. With a few minutes to go for the break, the hosts looked set to lose only one wicket through the course of the session. However, against the run of play, Warner chipped a very full delivery from Neil Wagner back to the bowler, with the left-arm pacer pouching a sensational one-handed catch. With Wagner's wicket, the spirits of the New Zealand camp would have been lifted as the players made their way back to the pavilion for the Tea break.

Warner in top form

Labuschagne continues to look in good touch, playing with mostly a straight bat. On the other hand, Warner waiting for that short delivery to pounce on it. The visitors are trying to hang in there.

CDG to the fore

Colin de Grandhomme has made the initial incision by dismissing Burns. The niggardly seamer got one to nip back (hint of swing too) and bowled it on a fuller length. The opener was trapped in front. New Zealand needed that wicket, and the reliable de Grandhomme has provided it.

Australia steady

Ferguson, on his Test debut, bowled a few nip-backers at pace and also extracted bounce to beat Burns on the inside edge. He also induced an outside edge of the right-hander only for it to not carry to the slip cordon. However, he has perhaps tried too much to cause some damage - erring in line and length - with Warner and Burns taking advantage. Ferguson has bowled too full or too short. The good length area would be the key length for this track. Meanwhile, Southee has been steady so far.

BLACKCAPS @BLACKCAPS Excited to see Lockie bowl on a hard & fast @OptusStadium pitch? We are! #AUSvNZ #cricketnation @PhotosportNZ 04:37 AM • Dec 12, 2019

Did you know?

At 16, he was one of 600 youngsters taking part in a fast bowling competition in Wellington. The field had a handful of future New Zealand cricketers - Jimmy Neesham, Ferguson and Ben Wheeler. Eventually, Neesham won the competition by clocking 133 km/h, while Ferguson came second with a best of 132 km/h. Despite not winning the competition, Ferguson had made everyone sit up and take notice of his potential.

Toss and teams

Not surprisingly, Australia have opted to bat. The track has a covering grass, but with a heatwave around, one can expect it to get cracked up as the match progresses. Australia have tall fast bowlers and Lyon, who imparts overspin, to take advantage of such conditions.

Trent Boult, the NZ spearhead, hasn't passed his fitness test. So, Lockie Ferguson, the tearaway, gets his maiden Test cap.

New Zealand (Playing XI): Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Lockie Ferguson

Australia (Playing XI): David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine(w/c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

Williamson: We would have batted first as well. Looks a good wicket and it's quite hot as well. But the track has been nicely watered and hopefully, we can get some sideways movement early. It's always a good challenge playing Australia in their home soil. Yea, that's the only change - Boult isn't good. So, that means a debut for Lockie.

Bat first? Bowl first?

Bharath Ramaraj @Fancricket12 Heat wave. Cracks. Quite simple. Bat first 100 out of 100 times #AUSvNZ 04:15 AM • Dec 12, 2019

Francis Payne @FPayne100 A very warm Optus Stadium where NZ are looking for their 100th test victory #AUSvNZ 02:52 AM • Dec 12, 2019

Build Up:

January 9, 1878. The day when stars of Australian cricket - Fred Spofforth, Charles Bannerman, Jack Blackham, David Gregory, Billy Murdoch and Co. - played for the Australians against New Zealand's southernmost region, Southland.

It wasn't a 11-a-side contest, and as a result, not considered as a first-class game. However, it was a significant milestone in terms of Australia-New Zealand cricket rivalry - the first recorded instance of an Australian XI taking on a team from New Zealand. Spofforh picked up a slew of wickets. Meanwhile, Bannerman showed his class and calibre with a century. The Australians then went on to play six more games before sailing back to their country, where they took part in a string of cricket matches in New South Wales and Victoria.

Unfortunately, it took almost seven more decades for Australia to once again lock horns versus New Zealand, and this time in a Test match. In the aftermath of World War II, Australia embarked on a trip to New Zealand to play a one-off Test and first-class games. With the Ashes on the horizon, seasoned players as well as youngsters were keen to impress. Just that due to plenty of rain, the pitch at the Basin Reserve for the first Test was saturated. So, a new pitch had to be cut out.

The two skippers - Walter Hadlee and Bill Brown - even thought of delaying the start, but with a jam-packed stadium, they decided to play. Hadlee won the toss and elected to bat, believing that Lindwall and Miller's extra pace wouldn't work on a damp pitch. Just that Bill O'Reilly and the ever-reliable Ernie Toshack tore through the hosts. Only Verdun Scott offered some resistance with a dour 14, with Miller calling his innings as "snore-inducing".

The gulf in class was evident. New Zealand were shot out for 42 and 54. And despite not having the legendary Don Bradman (laid low by fibrositis), the visitors crushed New Zealand by an innings and 103 runs. Interestingly, Australian players didn't wear their official blazers for this game! And on their pockets - ABC was mentioned (Australian Cricket Board).

After the one-off Test, Australia didn't play another one versus their neighbours until 1973-74. In the home series, Australia won by a 2-0 margin. However, it was the return series in New Zealand that turned out to be the turning point for the Kiwi side. In the Christchurch Test, and on a green wicket, New Zealand defeated their 'Big Brother' by five wickets. A determined Glenn Turner cracking hundreds in each innings of the game. Such was his determination to prove his worth against Australia that he took 30 minutes on Day 3 to eke out that single run to compose a ton. He also had to go through a period where Ian Chappell, then Australian captain, sledged him. Bevan Congdon, Richard Hadlee and Collinge also played key roles, as the Christchurch game turned out to be the epoch-making moment for New Zealand.

Since then, the two sides have met regularly. Even though New Zealand have won just a single Test series in Australia (Richard Hadlee-inspired New Zealand triumphing in 1985-86), they have displayed dogged spirit to take on the 'Big Brother'.

Can Kane Williamson follow in the footsteps of Coney in 1985-86, and pilot his country to a historic series victory Down Under? For that to happen, New Zealand have to get acclimatised to the cauldron of Perth, with the temperature most likely going to touch 40 degrees! And it is a pink-ball Test, so the ball might dart around in the evening session.

With the track expected to offer some bounce, the tearaway, Lockie Ferguson, might make his Test debut. Neil Wagner and Ferguson - the duo could give New Zealand the necessary firepower in Perth. The onus also will be on Jeet Raval, who has been going through a lean patch with the bat. Meanwhile, after clean-sweeping Pakistan, Australia would look to continue on their winning run. David Warner is back among the runs in the familiar settings at home. Steven Smith would be looking to make an impact after missing out against Pakistan. The Australian pace trio and Lyon have the weapons to run through any side, especially on a track with pace and bounce.

We will have the toss and teams in a while...

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