Sport Cricket First Test: Marnus Labuschagne ton gives Australia edge in Perth heat

First Test: Marnus Labuschagne ton gives Australia edge in Perth heat

Marnus Labuschagne revels in his third consecutive Test century on Thursday in Perth. Photo: Getty
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First Test New Zealand v Australia – Perth

First innings: Australia 4-248, stumps, day one

Labuschagne 110, Head 20 

An imperious century by Marnus Labuschagne has given Australia a solid start to reach 4-248 at the end of day one of the First Test against New Zealand in searing Perth heat.

Becoming the first Australian in 72 years [since Donald Bradman] to follow his maiden Test century with two tons in his next two innings, Labuschagne followed his Pakistan series success (185 in the first Test at the Gabba and 162 in the second Test at Adelaide) to be unbeaten on 110 at stumps.

Travis Head is the other not out batsman on 20.

The world No.2 Black Caps had paceman Trent Boult ruled out with a side strain before play and his replacement Lockie Ferguson needed scans on his calf.

But they showed precisely why they haven’t lost a Test series since March 2017 with two late wickets in an enthralling final session.

Steve Smith fell for 43, before left-hander Matthew Wade left an inswinger from Tim Southee that took his off stump,

The Queenslander and Smith put together a 132-run partnership to steady the ship before the challenge of battling the pink ball under lights.

Smith was lucky to survive a dropped catch at second slip by Tom Latham, off the bowling of debutant Ferguson, when he was 19.

Batting in temperatures verging on 40 degrees Celsius, Australia was reduced from 0-41 to 2-75 after Joe Burns was adjudged leg before wicket for nine, and fellow opener David Warner (43) fell to a superb caught-and-bowled by Neil Wagner (2-52).

Warner returned a full toss that never rose above shin height to the left-armed Wagner, who took a one-handed catch as he fell to his right.

Burns could count himself unlucky with his dismissal by Colin de Grandhomme (1-18).

He paid the price for not reviewing the umpire’s verdict, with ball-tracking later showing the decision would have been overturned as it was deemed to be missing leg stump.

Earlier, Australian skipper Tim Paine has backed his batsmen to set up a big score after winning the toss and decided to bat on the fast and bouncy Optus Stadium pitch.

Both sides held a minute’s silence before the match to remember those who died in the New Zealand volcano disaster earlier in the week.

Australian skipper Tim Paine won the toss and chose to bat. Photo: AAP

-with AAP

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