Johnson, Starc rip through NZ in 1st Test

Enforcer Johnson snared two wickets and fellow left-armer Starc claimed another two as the Black Caps succumbed late on the second day after a massive Australian declaration.

Mitchell Johnson celebrates the dismissal of Brendon McCullum.   -  Reuters

Mitchell Starc celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of James Neesham.   -  Getty Images

Australia's pace demons Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc ripped apart New Zealand to put the home side on course for victory in the first Test at the Gabba on Friday.

Enforcer Johnson snared two wickets and fellow left-armer Starc claimed another two as the Black Caps succumbed late on the second day after a massive Australian declaration.

At the close, the Kiwis were digging in at 157 for five in reply to Australia's 556 for four, trailing by 399 runs, and looking down the barrel of defeat with three days still to play.

New Zealand's big hope Kane Williamson was leading the resistance with an unbeaten 55, with wicketkeeper B. J. Watling providing support on 14.

The Black Caps steadied after losing four wickets for 16 runs at one stage against the pace and fire of Johnson and Starc.

"It was a great spell by Mitchell Johnson to bowl fast and aggressive," Starc said.

"He's the leader of the attack, bowling fantastically, bowling with great aggression, pace and bounce. He's our enforcer. It's great to be in the same team and bowl in partnerships with him."

Martin Guptill had a life, put down on 12 by Joe Burns, before he was snapped up low down at third slip by David Warner off Josh Hazlewood for 23.

The Black Caps lost four wickets in 25 balls when Starc had Tom Latham caught by Nathan Lyon at point for 47 and then struggling Ross Taylor went for a seven-ball duck.

Johnson angled one across Taylor's body and Steve Smith took a regulation catch at second slip.

Skipper Brendon McCullum lasted just six balls before he fell to the fired-up Johnson, getting a healthy edge to Adam Voges at first slip for six.

James Neesham was beaten by Starc's searing pace and had his stumps spreadeagled for three to continue the carnage.

Beleaguered Kiwis

“We made a good start with a couple of good partnerships, but they came hard for a 20-minute period and we made mistakes and if you make mistakes at this level quite often it's costly,” Kiwi team batting coach Craig McMillan said.Steve Smith called a halt to Australia's first innings following the dismissal of Usman Khawaja an hour before tea.

Khawaja was out to a reverse sweep, spooning part-time spinner Williamson to Guptill at backward point for 174.

Khawaja virtually gave away his wicket as word came out from the team dressing room of an impending declaration to end his 239-ball knock containing 18 fours and two sixes.

Voges remained marooned on an effortless 83 off 127 balls, tantalisingly close to his first Test century.

It was a relief for the beleaguered Kiwis to get off the ground after 565 minutes and 130.2 overs, most of the second day without their injured pace spearhead Tim Southee.

New Zealand claimed the prized wicket of Australia skipper Smith early on the second morning.

The Black Caps bowled better lines and their field placements returned to traditional settings early on the second day after Thursday's battering by Australia.

They won an early reward with the scalp of the world's second-ranked batsman Smith for 48.

Trent Boult, bowling much better than Thursday's innocuous efforts, removed Smith with a beautiful in-swinger which clipped the off-bail.

Smith only added seven runs to his overnight score and the Black Caps celebrated a triumph of sorts after going to first day stumps at 389 for two.

 

Kiwis bring in Wagner for injured Southee

New Zealand have summoned Neil Wagner into the Australian tour squad as a backup for injured fast bowler Tim Southee, team officials said on Friday.

Southee left the field on the second day of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane with back trouble and will continue to be assessed by medical staff, officials said.

It is not known whether Southee will bowl again if required in Brisbane Test in what is a big blow for the Kiwis, who have been struggling for the opening two days at the Gabba.

“Obviously, it was a blow with Tim today,” team batting coach Craig McMillan said. “He's got some stiffness in the back, that's something that will be monitored overnight and see how he wakes up tomorrow. We'll see how he scrubs up over the next couple of days in terms of his availability to bowl in this Test match.”

Southee, who had a scan after Thursday's opening day's play, pulled up with a back disc injury after delivering the last ball of his 24th over in Friday's morning session. He left the field with the team trainer and did not return. Southee is the spearhead of the Black Caps bowling attack and has taken 144 wickets in 41 Tests.

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