Aus-NZ, Smith puts Australia in commanding position on Day 1 of 2nd Test


World number two Test batsman Steve Smith has put the hosts Australia in a commanding position at Boxing Day against New Zealand in Melbourne. Australia are 257-4 at stumps as it was an absorbing day of Test cricket with both bat and the ball.

Smith scored his first half-century of the Australian summer and is unbeaten on 77* with left-hander Travis Head sitting on 25.

Earlier visiting team captain Kane Williamson won the toss and put Australia to bat. It was a wise decision when comeback pace bowler Trent Boult struck Joe Burns on a golden duck in the first over of the day.

David Warner (43) grew the innings along with wonder boy Marnus Labuschagne but became a victim of a superb catch of Tim Southee at the second slip on the bowling of Neil Wagner. It was also unfortunate to see Marnus getting out on a score of 63 after getting three hundred in the last three Tests. Colin de Grandhomme took the prize wicket.

Colin again took the wicket when the partnership was growing between Smith and Matthew Wade who got out in the final session. He was the pick of the bowlers for the kiwis on Day one finishing on 2-48.

The crowd came in large numbers as the attendance was of 80,473 at the MCG was the second-largest Day 1 crowd at a Boxing Day Test for a non-Ashes fixture just behind only the 85,661 who came out to watch Australia play West Indies in 1975-76.