Perth, Australia, Dec 12 (AFP/APP): Emerging Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne on Thursday posted his third successive Test century to frustrate a resilient New Zealand attack on the opening day of the first Test in Perth.
After Australia won a potentially pivotal toss in scorching heat and elected to bat in the first ever day-night Test in Perth, the home team were 248 for four at stumps after facing some challenging bowling from the disciplined Kiwis.
Having toiled without much success in 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) heat, the Kiwis fought back late in the day by removing Steve Smith (43) and Matthew Wade (12).
However, Labuschagne was the rock of the Australian innings and was unbeaten on 110, with Travis Head on 20.
Batting was hard work for most of the Australian top order in the high temperatures, but Labuschagne further added to his rapidly growing status with a chanceless century.
The leading runscorer in Test cricket this year, the 25-year-old passed the 1,000 run mark in the five-day format en route to triple figures.
Called up from outside the Ashes squad for the Test series in England after Smith was injured, Labuschagne had posted his first two Test centuries in his previous two outings against Pakistan.
He reached this hundred against New Zealand in style, lofting spinner Mitchell Santner straight down the ground for six to move from 95 to 101.
It was just the second six of his Test career and he reached the milestone in 166 balls.
By contrast, star batsman Smith really struggled during his innings against some disciplined bowling, taking 164 balls to make 43 before falling to a leg side trap from the bowling of Neil Wagner (2-52).