Cricket

Aus vs New Zealand: Starc puts Kiwis on the backfoot

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Smith takes a blinder to remove Williamson late in the day

A stunning catch by Steve Smith snared the prized wicket of Kane Williamson as Mitchell Starc tore through the New Zealand top-order on the second day of the first Test on Friday.

Smith dived to his right at second slip to remove Williamson for 34 off the bowling of Starc just when it appeared that the Kiwis were fighting back after losing the openers with just one on the board.

After Australia posted 416, the visitors were struggling at 109 for five in reply at stumps, still 307 in arrears.

Ross Taylor, who put on 76 for the third wicket with Williamson and had made 290 in his previous Test in Perth, was batting on 66 and B-J Watling was yet to score.

Smith’s catch was a key moment as the Kiwis slumped to 97 for five, losing three wickets for just 20 runs. Starc (4-31) did the damage with four wickets, including those of Henry Nicholls (7) and nightwatchman Neil Wagner (0) off successive balls.

Australia had also lost opening bowler Josh Hazlewood to a left hamstring injury after he had bowled opener Jeet Raval (0) in his first over. Hazlewood managed just two balls in his second before pulling up short during his run-up.

Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne’s 143 was the highlight of the Australian innings that lasted just a few balls shy of five sessions as the mercury again climbed towards 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and a bushfire broke out adjacent to the ground.

Tim Southee (4-93) and Wagner (4-92) shared the spoils for New Zealand.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 7:13:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/aus-vs-new-zealand-starc-puts-kiwis-on-the-backfoot/article30300637.ece

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