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Warner-led Australia make steady start at SCG

Led by David Warner, Australia made a steady start to the New Year's Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, ending the opening session with 95 runs on the board, losing only the wicket of Joe Burns.
The focus was in-part on the weather conditions too, given NSW's current bushfire crisis. Haze was prevalent, but visibility good enough to have 27 overs bowled in the session. Matt Henry got some extra bounce first up, but he failed to bowl consistently at the stumps, letting the Australian batsmen get a move on as the opening pair made a steady start. Warner and Burns added 39 runs until a change in ends for Colin de Grandhomme did the trick for New Zealand.

A bit of late seam movement had Burns squared up. He got the edge that was pouched by Ross Taylor at slip. Although de Grandhomme got the only wicket in the session, he leaked runs in his eight overs, conceding 39 runs in total. Neil Wagner attacked the batsmen with his usual barrage of short-pitched deliveries. He almost even got Warner off a pull that the batsman had no control over. But the top-edge fell just short of Will Somerville at fine leg, who misjudged the catch. Marnus Labuschagne and Warner thereafter joined hands to stitch a rapid fifty-run stand to see the session through.

New Zealand were forced to make as many as five changes to their XI owing to the illness that struck the visitors' camp in the lead-up to the Test. Regular skipper Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls were in with a chance to play until the morning but were forced out eventually. They handed Glenn Philips his maiden Test cap, while recalling dropped opener Jeet Raval. Tim Southee missed out, Mitchell Santner was forced out with illness and Trent Boult's injury meant inclusions of Matt Henry, Todd Astle and Will Somerville, who returned to his home ground, having played several seasons for New South Wales earlier.

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