x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

New Zealand hit back

Australia struggled with the bat once more as New Zealand maintained a foothold in the first Test with a battling bowling display at the Gabba.

Simon Katich scored a valiant half-century against New Zealand.
Simon Katich scored a valiant half-century against New Zealand.

BRISBANE // Australia struggled with the bat once more as New Zealand maintained a foothold in the first Test with a battling bowling display at the Gabba. Having been dismissed for just 156 earlier in the day, handing the hosts a first-innings lead of 58, New Zealand hit back to reduce Australia to 131-6 at stumps.

Another wicket-laden day - 16 fell in all - ended with Ricky Ponting's men 189 runs ahead. Mitchell Johnson took 4-30 to help skittle the Black Caps but the Australia batsmen also failed to fire with Matthew Hayden, Ponting and Mike Hussey all departing cheaply before Simon Katich (67 not out) notched a gutsy half-century to repair the damage. But Chris Martin (3-52) grabbed two late wickets in Andrew Symonds (20) and Shane Watson (five) to ensure New Zealand finished the day on a high.

Australia started their second innings in woeful fashion when Hayden fell for a golden duck when he copped a fantastic delivery from Martin first-up after the innings break. Hayden was all at sea, edging a swinging ball that was short of a length straight to keeper Brendon McCullum. Ponting (17) showed glimpses of his best but after surviving an lbw shout from Tim Southee, a mis-timed pull shot saw the end of the home skipper in the ninth over.

Ponting attempted to heave a delivery from outside off-stump, but instead sent the ball skywards and straight to Aaron Redmond to hand Iain O'Brien his first wicket. O'Brien had Hussey back in the stands for a duck four balls later, but in far more fortunate circumstances. The Black Caps went up enthusiastically in an appeal for caught behind and the umpire Rudi Koertzen gave Hussey his matching orders even though television replays indicated the ball missed the bat by some margin and instead shaved Hussey's pads.

Michael Clarke's time at the crease was cut short by a direct hit from Redmond at square leg that found him short of his ground. Symonds initially steadied the ship in a determined 56-run partnership with Katich, before an ill-fated hook shot to a shorter ball gave the visitors a late boost before the end of play. * PA Sport