Image courtesy of: Zimbio
New Zealand were unable to save the first Test in Brisbane on the fifth and final day as Australia’s bowling attack proved to be too much for them to handle.
The Blackcaps were saved by heavy rain during the third session on the fourth day, but they had no such luck on the final day and eventually lost the match by 208 runs despite captain Brendon McCullum’s valiant innings of 80.
Starting off the day on 142/3, New Zealand found themselves in trouble as they kept losing batsmen at regular intervals.
McCullum, who hadn’t been among the runs for a while, ended that drought with a terrific 80 off 80 balls, which included 10 boundaries and two sixes. Since he was running low on partners, McCullum took it upon himself to take the attack to Australia, but this costed him his wicket as he was caught by Australia skipper Steven Smith off the bowling of Mitchell Marsh.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Despite spinner Mark Craig fighting his way to an unbeaten 26, it was not enough to save the Blackcaps as they were bowled out for 295, which allowed Australia to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Nathan Lyon was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Marsh, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood snapped up two wickets apiece and Mitchell Johnson claimed one.
McCullum was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth are two of the best umpires in the world (when asked about DRS and the decision against him). We lost by 200 and something odd runs, and Australia deserved to win. I hope [Tim Southee] will be fit. The fact that he didn’t bowl the last couple of days, we hope he’ll be fit for the next Test match. We’ve achieved some pretty special things of late, and we need something special to come back from this as well.”
Smith was delighted to have taken a 1-0 lead, and said: “Davy Warner and Joe Burns really set the tone in the first morning. Was hard work, a bit tacky, and they got through that first hour and set it up for us. Wasn’t so much nervous, mostly excitement [to take over as full-time captain]. It’s a big responsibility and challenge, and it’s great to lead such a young team full of energy. Joe Burns was exceptional, and Usman Khawaja is back as well. Their first Test hundreds, it’s very exciting for us for the future. To be 1-0 up in a three-match series is crucial. I’m really satisfied, but we have a few things to work on, our new-ball bowling, we could hit our lengths better. Two hundreds in a match for the third time [for Warner] and that’s an amazing achievement.”
Warner was named Man of the Match, and said: “Good to put a nice performance on the board. There wasn’t much for the bowlers. It was a great win and we now have to move on to Perth. I was looking back with some disappointment to England. I only got a couple of fifties in the second innings in England, was disappointing not to score in the first innings. The way [Joe Burns] came out and played his shots – we know how he plays, as the Australian unit, and now the world knows. So happy for [Khawaja] to move to Queensland, find a new home, and come back from injury and do so well.”