|Must be something wrong with the ball: Michael Clarke and keeper Brad Haddin rue a dropped catch [GALLO/GETTY]|
Daniel Vettori and Dean Brownlie restored New Zealand’s first innings after a clatter of wickets on the rain-shortened opening day of the first Test against Australia at the Gabba on Thursday.
When rain forced an early finish after tea, the eighth-ranked Black Caps, chasing their first victory in Australia for 26 years, were 176 for five after winning the toss.
Former skipper Vettori was on 45 off 66 balls and Brownlie, dropped twice on three, unbeaten on 32 off 89 deliveries.
Australian captain Michael Clarke fumbled Brownlie at first slip in a straight-forward chance off Peter Siddle and two balls later David Warner got his fingertips to a cut shot at point off Mitchell Starc.
Brownlie continued to live a charmed life and Starc found an inside edge only for the ball to just miss off-stump and roll down to the boundary.
The pair put on an unbeaten 80 runs for the sixth wicket to rescue their team from a shaky opening.
The Kiwis were faltering at 96 for five shortly after lunch when Jesse Ryder on six lazily sliced Starc straight to Warner at point for the pace debutant’s second wicket.
Only last weekend Ryder clubbed 16 sixes to equal a first-class record for most sixes in his explosive century in a Test warm-up game against Australia A.
“We wanted to be patient and stick to our plans and knew they would be playing their shots so if we could stay patient then the rewards would come,” Starc said.
Starc dismissed opening batsman Brendon McCullum, with seven fours in his 34, during the morning session, also caught by fellow debutant Warner.
Starc, the most impressive of Australia’s bowlers, finished the day with 2-52 off 13 overs.
“It’s something I’ll never forget and obviously I’m pretty proud just to get the baggy green cap but to take a couple of wickets was fantastic as well,” Starc said.
Injuries to Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnston, allrounder Shane Watson and exciting teenager Pat Cummins forced selectors to go with Australia’s most inexperienced bowling attack in almost three decades.
Australia made their first breakthrough with the wicket of Martin Guptill for 13 in the 11th over.
Siddle, leading the inexperienced Australian pace attack in his 26th Test match, got an edge to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, leaving the Black Caps at 44 for one inside the first hour.
|First day scorecard|
New Zealand first innings
Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Guptill), 2-56 (McCullum), 3-78 (Williamson), 4-93
McCullum was out to a careless dismissal, bottom-edging a square cut to Warner to give Starc his first Test wicket in his sixth over.
“First hour good. Second hour a bit reckless,” McCullum said.
“Our guys wanted to try to exert some dominance on the opposition and the game and probably got a touch over aggressive and we probably paid for it.
“We’ve got to keep making sure we put ourselves in the strongest position we can, 280-300 is the minimum for us. Anything over that is a bonus.”
Captain Ross Taylor had a lucky escape on four runs when he was dropped by Usman Khawaja off Pattinson before Kane Williamson was out for 19.
Williamson played across his pads to finger spinner Nathan Lyon and flicked a head-high catch to Khawaja close in to the bat leaving the Kiwis at 78 for three.
Pattinson got the prized wicket of Taylor, who dragged a wide delivery on to his stumps for 14 nearing lunch.
But Vettori and Brownlie restored the innings before the washout.
Australia left paceman Ben Cutting out of the starting eleven, which contained three debutants — Pattinson, Starc and Warner.