Australia vs New Zealand: Marsh and Green Lead Revival in Basin Reserve Test 2024

In the first Test between Australia and New Zealand since 2016, the Basin Reserve witnessed a gripping battle as Matt Henry’s fiery bowling sparked early trouble for the visiting side

Following a 61-run opening partnership between Khawaja and Steven Smith, Australia lost 4 for 28 in their first Test match in New Zealand since 2016. Despite facing 189 deliveries in total, neither opener was able to make an impact, and Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne fell for cheap.

Australia vs New Zealand: Marsh and Green Lead Revival in Basin Reserve Test 2024

After lunch, in seaming conditions, New Zealand were significantly more precise than Australia, who were struggling at 89 for 4, after taking just 31 off the wicket of Smith in the opening session.

As the day went on, the noticeably green surface seemed to pick up speed, but that has only helped the in-form Marsh, who is continuing his incredible comeback at the Test level. With a quick 39 off 36 balls, he put an end to New Zealand’s attack. While Australia calmed by tea, Cameron Green, still relatively fresh to the No. 4 spot, made a nervous start but held steady to support Marsh in an unbroken half-century partnership.

While there was an earthquake on the lower North Island with a magnitude of 4.7 and early rain in Wellington, the weather cleared up by midday.

Having only triumphed over Australia once in 29 Test matches since 1993, New Zealand continued to employ a seam-heavy strategy, selecting to play Scott Kuggeleijn instead of calling up left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.

Henry was not utilized right away following the break because he had been the standout in the previous session, but Tim Southee and Kuggeleijn bowled well together. A defensive Labuschagne hesitated to get on the front foot and instead played late as they shaped the bowl away from him.

Kuggeleijn, who had been racing into the crease, produced an outside edge that Daryl Mitchell superbly grabbed low to his left at first slip, demonstrating the benefit of working over. Labuschagne’s lean patch persisted as he walked off, obviously unhappy, having made just 1 off 27 balls.

Khawaja slowed to a crawl under pressure from New Zealand’s quicks. Henry’s comeback proved to be effective as he unleashed a vicious late swinging blow that struck Khawaja’s middle stump.

Australia vs New Zealand: Marsh and Green Lead Revival in Basin Reserve Test 2024

Head was relieved to start the Test match with a single following a king pair against the West Indies at the Gabba. Lately, he has been feast or famine at the Test level. However, Head was undone by William O’Rourke’s extra pace to be caught off the shoulder of the bat and failed to add to his total. Despite Australia‘s plight, Marsh showed no fear as he top-edged Southee for six runs, then raced to 20 from 15 balls after hitting a first-ball boundary.

Marsh’s aggressive style was in stark contrast to Australia’s attritional batting display, which was primarily focused on survival. Khawaja and Smith tormented Southee, who carried on a long tradition of captains choosing to bowl at Basin Reserve, with their focus on letting the ball alone, save for a brief burst in the first session when he attacked Kuggeleijn’s short bowling.

With fiery Neil Wagner’s retirement, a new era began, and New Zealand’s fresh-look pace attack sought to make early gains against an Australia top-order still getting used to life after David Warner’s departure. Henry bowled a penetrating six-over session with the new ball and was engaged in a riveting fight of patience with Khawaja, who was helped along by a strong breeze.

Smith began his first Test innings as an opener away from home uneasy, but his confidence was boosted with a signature cover drive to the boundary off an infrequently loose Southee delivery. But without the strike, Smith went obviously tense and tried to score a suicidal single, only to have Khawaja send him back when he was rushing to the non-striker’s end.

Before Smith, in his third Test match since moving up the order, nicked off to Henry to finish his 71-ball knock, Australia seemed set to cruise through the opening session as New Zealand had the upper hand. For the sixth consecutive Test, Australia will field the same front-line assault as the team that shocked the West Indies last month by eight runs.


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