It took only four balls for New Zealand’s bellwether Trent Boult to draw the first blood on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Boult’s inswinger knocked off the stumps of Australian opener Joe Burns as he got out for a golden duck.
The Kiwi pacer bowled a full delivery, which curved back sharply, and Burns with a high backlift couldn’t bring his bat down in time as the swing beat him. Boult’s magnificent ball took the inside edge and shattered the stumps.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 25, 2019
Ian Smith, who was on the air, termed the moment as a ‘payback’ dismissal – Mitchell Starc dismissed Brendon Mccullum during the 2015 World Cup final in the very first over.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s bowlers were right on the money as they made it hard for the Aussie batters to survive. Niel Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme dismissed David Warner (41) and Marnus Labuschagne (63) before they could score big.
Warner looked in good touch, but it was Wagner again who took charge and send the Aussie opener back in the hut. Warner went for a drive, but it caught the edge, and Tim Southee didn’t lose the opportunity to grab a stunner at the slips.
Labuschagne, who is the leading run-scorer in the current calendar year, showed his consistency as he reached 7th Test fifty. But soon he lost his concentration and made a blunder which cost him the wicket. It looked like Labuschagne was in two minds whether to leave the ball or play it, but it was too late for him as the ball touched his elbow and went straight into the stumps.
Steve Smith, on the other hand, continued his prime form and completed his career’s 28th Test half-century.