MELBOURNE – Former Australia captain Steve Smith scored 77 not out to thrill a record crowd of more than 80,000 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday on the first day of the second test against New Zealand.
Sent in to bat on a grassy pitch in overcast conditions, Australia had reached 67-2 at lunch in front of a record crowd of 80,473. Openers Joe Burns (0) and David Warner (41) departed in the first session.
Australia lost the crucial wicket of Marnus Labuschagne in the post-lunch session, before going to tea at 155-3. By stumps, the home side was 257-4 with Smith on 77 and Travis Head 25 not out.
While the green-topped pitch made scoring difficult all day and was particularly difficult for batting in the first session, New Zealand’s bowlers were not quite able to take the upper hand after electing to bowl first.
Smith showed tremendous patience, weathering a storm of short-pitched bowling with a stacked leg-side field to hit eight fours and one six from 192 deliveries.