Australia vs New Zealand 2nd Test Day 1: Smith, Labuschagne give Australia the upper hand in Melbourne

Steve Smith 77 not out Australia New Zealand 2nd Test Day 1 Melbourne cricket

Steve Smith struck eight boundaries and a six during his unbeaten knock of 77

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne scored 77 not out and 63 respectively to give Australia the upper hand over New Zealand on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

Choosing to bowl first, New Zealand got their first breakthrough on the fourth ball of the match as Trent Boult clean bowled Australia opener Joe Burns for a golden duck.

David Warner and Labuschagne made up for the loss of Burns with a 60-run partnership before Warner was brilliantly caught by Tim Southee at second slip off the bowling of Neil Wagner for 41.

Labuschagne and Smith kept the runs flowing with an 83-run partnership, during which Labuschagne brought up his fifty, before he was cleaned up by Colin de Grandhomme for 63, which came off 149 balls and included six boundaries and a six.

Smith and Matthew Wade added 72 runs to the score, during which Smith surpassed his half-century, before Wade was caught behind off the bowling of De Grandhomme for 38.

Smith and Travis Head ensured Australia ended the day on a high as they forged an unbeaten 41-run partnership before stumps was called.

Smith finished on 77, which came off 192 ball and included eight boundaries and a six, while Head remained undefeated on 25, which came off 56 deliveries and included three boundaries.

De Grandhomme was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Boult and Wagner claimed one wicket each.

Australia ended day one on 257/4 and will continue batting on Friday at 11:00 local time or 00:00 GMT.

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