New Zealand’s pacemen struck back with two late wickets under the floodlights at Adelaide Oval but Australia’s bowlers shone in the sun as the inaugural day-night Test commenced on Friday. Batsmen had spoken of the pink ball with trepidation in the lead-up to the historic match and 12 wickets tumbled in front of a festive crowd of 47,441
After winning the toss, New Zealand squandered a positive start with a succession of poor shot selections to be dismissed cheaply for 202 in twilight early in the third session of the third and final Test. Pacemen Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell removed Australia’s openers David Warner and Joe Burns but captain Steve Smith (24 not out) and Adam Voges (nine) dug in to guide the hosts to 54-2 at the close of play under an inky black sky.
Australia, 1-0 up in the series, took the leading role in nudging a 138-year-old format into prime-time hours so it was fitting that the hosts held a slender advantage at the close. Their satisfaction was tempered, however, by an injury to pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who limped off late in the middle session to have scans. Having carried an ankle injury for months, Starc was the pick of their bowlers with 3-24, but was in clear discomfort from the first ball after New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and elected to bat.
New Zealand crumbled in the middle session, losing three wickets for four runs in 11 balls, with opener Tom Latham, Ross Taylor and McCullum all falling through loose shots. Spinner Nathan Lyon triggered the collapse when Latham bottom-edged to Peter Nevill to be out for 50, the wicketkeeper snaffling a fine catch with the edge of his glove.
Taylor holed out for 21 with an unsightly drive off Peter Siddle that sent an inside edge through to Nevill. McCullum showed no interest in a patient captain’s knock and was caught behind for four slashing wildly at Starc. Spin-bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner, a surprise selection in place of seamer Matt Henry, showed some resilience but Starc returned to bowl him for 31 before exiting the field.
Starc had captured the prized wicket of Kane Williamson for 22 with a trademark searing yorker, setting the tone for a tough day for New Zealand’s batsmen. Josh Hazlewood was the first to strike, trapping opener Martin Guptill lbw for one run in his second over. He finished with 3-66, with Peter Siddle taking 2-54, his second wicket bringing up 200 in tests. Latham became the first to register a half-century in day-night cricket before he was caught behind off Lyon for 50.