Australian pace spearheads Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc took two wickets each as New Zealand’s top order crumbled late on Friday in response to Australia’s massive first-innings total of 556-4 declared in the series-opening Test in Brisbane.
Usman Khawaja’s dismissal for 174 prompted Australia skipper Steve Smith’s declaration midway through the second afternoon of day two, and New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill survived 13 overs until the tea interval unscathed.
Josh Hazlewood had Guptill (23) well caught by David Warner at third slip, and Latham continued with Kane Williamson in a 46-run stand to lift the total to 102 before his dismissal triggered a collapse of four wickets for 16 runs in five overs. That left the Black Caps at 157-5 at stumps, needing another 199 runs merely to avoid the follow-on.
It was the first multiple-wicket session of the match, starting with Latham (47) slicing a slower ball from Starc (2-30) to Nathan Lyon at point. Johnson (2-52) removed Ross Taylor (0), who was edgy for six balls before nicking to Smith at second slip with the total at 105. Johnson then dismissed captain Brendon McCullum (6), who had immediately glided the Australian paceman’s delivery over the cordon for a boundary before edging to Adam Voges at first slip.
Starc returned to bowl James Neesham (3) as New Zealand slipped to 118-5 before Williamson’s composure stemmed the flow of wickets in the last 10 overs. He was unbeaten on 55 at stumps, and BJ Watling was 14 not out.
It was a painful end to the day for the New Zealanders, who struggled after Tim Southee left the field with a back injury. The strike bowler only bowled five overs on Friday before he limped off the field with an irritation of a disc in his spine. He did not return but the New Zealand team said he was undergoing treatment and remained hopeful he would recover during the Test. Neil Wagner was drafted into the squad as cover in case Southee is sidelined for the second Test.
Southee (1-70) had been the pick of the New Zealand bowlers. Trent Boult took the key wicket of Smith, but his figures ballooned to 1-127 as Australia accelerated the scoring. Bat had dominated ball in the first five sessions at the Gabba, where the pace and bounce was expected to increase late and where Australia hasn’t lost a Test match since 1988.
Australia resumed on Friday at 389-2 and lost only one wicket — Smith bowled for 48 — before lunch. Khawaja, who was on 102 overnight, continued with Voges in a 157-run stand until he was caught out attempting to sweep Williamson. Voges remained unbeaten on 83.
All of Australia’s batsmen contributed — openers Warner scored 163 and Joe Burns made 71 — in a confidence-boosting start for a new-look top order, posting the biggest first-day total at the venue