Australia v New Zealand | Boxing Day Test: 3 observations from Day 1
It was an attritional day of Test match cricket at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground between Australia and New Zealand in the second Test of the three-match series. The Boxing Day Test has been a great tradition and one of the most important events in a sporting calendar and the crowd didn’t disappoint as the attendance crossed 80,000 on day one.
All the talk ahead of the Test was about the 22 yards at the MCG, which has come in for some strong criticisms over the past few years because of its slow nature. The groundsmen made sure that was not the case this time around as they left a lot of live grass with moisture underneath. That along with cloudy skies was good enough for the Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson to send Australia in to bat.
At the end of the first day, it was the home side who are in the driver's seat after scoring 257 for the loss of 4 wickets. Marnus Labuschagne, with 63 off 149, was once again among runs while Steve Smith remained unbeaten on 77. Lets look at the key talking points from the opening day at the G:
#1 Steve Smith finds a way
It was a rare twin failure for one of the modern day greats in the first Test Test at Perth as he was found wanting against short pitched bowling. So everyone were keenly awaiting how Smith would respond to that strategy from the Kiwis. Well, you cannot be averaging 60+ from 70 Tests if you cant find a way to get out of trouble. Steve Smith did exactly that as he cut down on the aggressive option early on against short stuff and was keen to let them all go. When the ball was in his zone, he did drive the ball well and in the process scored yet another 50 at the MCG. Smith averages better than Sir Don Bradman at this famous ground with 4 hundreds and it looks like the record is only going to get better as he approaches yet another hundred.
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