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Cricket-New-look Australia tick plenty of boxes in Gabba victory

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Skipper Steve Smith spoke about
a new era of Australian cricket before the first test against
New Zealand and his side launched it in some style with a
thumping 208-run victory to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match
series on Monday.
    Smith took charge permanently for the first time at the
Gabba after succeeding Michael Clarke and there were concerns
his side might be vulnerable after Chris Rogers, Brad Haddin and
Shane Watson joined his predecessor in retirement.
    The top order was a particular worry but new vice captain
David Warner was named Man of the Match on Monday after scoring
two centuries, while his new opening partner Joe Burns and
recalled number three Usman Khawaja both scored maiden hundreds.
    "I thought the first morning really set the tone for us with
Joe Burns and Davy Warner batting so well," Smith told a news
conference.  
    "I thought the top order set the test match up for us. The
partnerships that we had in that top three were crucial to our
success."
    With such strong starts to both innings -- Burns and Warner
shared opening partnerships of 161 and 237 -- the often
under-fire all-rounder Mitchell Marsh had little chance to
impress with the bat.
    He did, however, improve his chances of retaining his spot
for the second test in Perth when he took the wicket of New
Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and flirted with a hat-trick
before finishing with figures of 2-25 on Monday.
    "He came on and bowled with decent pace at the end," Smith
said. 
    "He hadn't contributed much in the test match so it was nice
that he could come on and do really decent job for us."
    The part of the team most Australians were not concerned
about before the test was the pace attack, but Smith suggested
Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood needed to up
their game for the Perth test, which starts on Friday.
    "Our new ball bowling needs a little bit of improvement, I
think we bowled a bit too short," he said. 
    "We don't normally do that here, we usually get the ball up
and make the batters drive and I think that's going to be
important leading into Perth, which are probably going to be
pretty similar conditions."
    Both captains said the game was played in a good spirit but
Smith was disappointed that Starc had thrown the ball at New
Zealand tail ender Mark Craig towards the end of the match when
there was no run-out possible. 
    "It was just a bit of frustration and I think he just needs
to let it out in other ways," Smith added. 
    "He's done it a few times before and I'm going to have a
word to him when we get back to the sheds."   

 (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by John
O'Brien)

Source: R-Csports

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Cricket-McCullum hopeful on Southee, confident of Black Caps bounce

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New Zealand captain Brendon
McCullum has not given up on a first series win in Australia for
30 years despite defeat at the Gabba on Monday and hopes paceman
Tim Southee will be able to play a part in the second test.
    Australia romped to a thumping 208-run victory to take a 1-0
lead in the three-test series on Monday after dismissing the
last seven New Zealand batsmen before lunch on the final day. 
    The Black Caps were on the back foot after conceding 389
runs on day one and their attempts to get back into the match
were hindered by a back injury to fast bowler Southee, who was
unable to bowl in Australia's second innings.       
    "I thought Tim bowled very well for us on that first day and
he battled through a pretty tough back injury as well," McCullum
said.
    "We're hopeful that he'll be able to step up for that next
test match. We'll give him every chance, he's one of our
leaders.  
    "All the other guys will be better for that run as well. We
have shown in the past that we're a bounce back side. 
    "We've achieved some special things of late and it is going
to take a special effort over the next couple of tests to come
out with the spoils."
    The second test starts on Friday in Perth, where a loss
would mean an end to New Zealand's run of seven test series
without defeat. 
    New Zealand's chances of a victory would be greatly enhanced
with strike bowlers Southee and Trent Boult taking the new ball
on what is traditionally a pace friendly deck at the WACA.
    One man who will not be in the side is all-rounder James
Neesham, who batted on Monday despite a back injury that has
ruled him out for the rest of the series.
    Left arm pace bowler Mitchell McClenaghan will join the
squad in place of Neesham, while seamer Neil Wagner has already
been called up as cover for Southee.
    McCullum said there had been some positives for New Zealand
to take away from Brisbane, not least the form of top order
batsman Kane Williamson, who scored 140 and 59 in two defiant
innings.
    "Kane Williamson, probably the best hundred I've ever seen
from a New Zealander in the time that I've been playing,"
McCullum said.
    "Just full of class and just once again showed how good a
player he is that he can score runs in any conditions against
any attack in the world."
    The Black Caps skipper showed some of his own batting
brilliance on Monday with a run-a-ball 80 featuring 10 fours and
two sixes.
    The innings, and effectively New Zealand's hopes of forcing
a draw, came to an end in controversial circumstances when he
was given out caught behind. Television pictures showing he had
not made contact with the ball.     
    "That's cricket," he said. 
    "Both Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth are outstanding
umpires who are allowed to make the occasional mistake, you have
to cop it sweet. That didn't win or lose us the game." 

 (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Greg
Stutchbury)

Source: R-Csports

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UPDATE 2-Cricket-Australia wrap up victory after McCullum defiance

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(Adds quotes)
    * Australia win by 208 runs
    * Take 1-0 lead in three-match series
    * Warner named Man of the MatchAustralia were held up by
Brendon McCullum but dismissed New Zealand for 295 before lunch
on the final day of the first test on Monday to win by 208 runs
and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
    The hosts had dominated the match since their new-look top
order racked up 389-2 on the opening day and never looked like
losing a first test at the Gabba since 1988. 
    New Zealand captain McCullum fought a thrilling rearguard
with a run-a-ball 80 but once he was controversially dismissed
the writing was on the wall for the tourists. 
    Australia made 556-4 declared in their first innings and
declared again on 264-4 in their second, limiting New Zealand to
317 in their first knock.
    "It's nice to start the summer off on a high," said
Australia skipper Steve Smith. 
    "I think the boys did a great job from day one ... that
really set us up for the test match. To be one-nil up in a
three-match series is pretty crucial."
    Opener David Warner was named Man of the Match for his
innings of 163 and 116, the best of several fine batting
displays from the hosts that formed the bedrock of the victory. 
    Although New Zealand never looked like reaching their
victory target of 504, the prospect of more wet weather and
McCullum's exploits had kept alive their hopes of batting out
the day for a draw.
    Resuming on 142 for three, McCullum took the game to
Australia and scored a half century off 44 balls, with seven
fours and a single straight six taking him to the milestone. 
    The aggressive nature of his innings meant the righthander
rode his luck at times but while he was firing at the crease,
there was still a chance.
    Ross Taylor (26) and the injured James Neesham (3) were
dismissed at the other end but it was the departure of BJ
Watling for 14 that precipitated McCullum's demise.
    Nathan Lyon's lbw appeal was confirmed by technology but the
use of New Zealand's final review to check the decision cost
McCullum dear in the following over.
    Mitchell Marsh forced the batsman onto the back foot with a
low delivery and although umpire Nigel Llong raised his finger
in response to the appeal for caught behind, television replays
suggested there had been no contact with McCullum's bat.
    McCullum called the decision "disappointing" but said it
should not detract from a deserved victory for the hosts.
    "I thought Australia were outstanding," he said. "Right from
ball one, they put us under a lot of pressure (and) we were
always chasing the game. 
    "We'll take our medicine, we'll cop it sweet and move onto
Perth."
    The second test begins in Perth on Friday and the series
concludes with the inaugural day/night test in Adelaide.
    After McCullum's dismissal, Doug Bracewell was dismissed lbw
for a golden duck and although all-rounder Marsh (2-25) failed
to secure the hat-trick, Tim Southee (5) did not last long.
    Trent Boult (15) was the final batsman to fall, giving quick
Mitchell Starc figures of 2-69. Off spinner Lyon finished with
3-63.
    Neesham batted despite a back injury that New Zealand said
would rule him out of the rest of the tour, a second blow after
paceman Southee's irritated disc prevented him from bowling in
the second innings.
    The all-rounder's wicket gave quick Mitchell Johnson his
310th test victim to bring him level with Brett Lee as
Australia's fourth most prolific wicket-taker in the five-day
game.

 (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Greg
Stutchbury/Peter Rutherford)

Source: R-Csports

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