The Roar
The Roar


Every Aussie rated from first Test vs New Zealand: Green and GOAT great, Marnus misery as batting woes deepen

3rd March, 2024
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3rd March, 2024
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Australia are 1-0 up in the Frank Worrell Trophy after a commanding 172-run victory over New Zealand in Wellington – but it was very much the usual suspects doing the bulk of the work.

With 10 wickets, Nathan Lyon was front and centre once more to victory, with player of the match Cameron Green’s flawless ball-striking and Lyon’s own 41 the pick of the offerings with the bat – but meanwhile, the form of Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Alex Carey, plus Steve Smith’s turbulent start to life as an opener, continue to provide headaches.

Here are The Roar’s player ratings for the first Trans-Tasman Test.

Usman Khawaja – 6

For all intents and purposes, Khawaja did his job as opener in both innings in Wellington – he twice saw off the new ball, helped blunt the New Zealand attack, and set a platform on which to build, despite failing to convert starts either time.

The problem remains that his slow scoring and sedate pace leaves Australia vulnerable to collapsing around him, as he’ll rarely force the field to be spread or even frequently rotate the strike; even his attempt to up the ante in the second innings showed he’s far from his fluent best, stumped off Glenn Phillips trying and failing to hit him down the ground.

With an inexperienced opener alongside him and a misfiring batting order, Khawaja might need to find a way to score slightly quicker to give his fellow batters more support.


Steve Smith – 5

A gritty first-innings 31 was far from the dynamic Smith of his heyday, but in difficult conditions, a tough slog like that was invaluable to ensure Australia avoided early disaster against the Black Caps’ pace attack.

Made up for a second-innings duck with a superb catching performance on Days 3 and 4, with a one-handed stunner to remove Will Young the highlight.

Marnus Labuschagne – 0.5


Labuschagne’s form is reaching critical mass proportions at the moment: with just three runs across two innings, the Queenslander’s worst ever Test has come at the most inopportune time.


The source of many of the issues in Australia’s misfiring batting order, he’ll be grateful just one more Test remains before an extended break, during which stints in the County Championship and the Sheffield Shield to start next summer will afford him a chance to find some form at a lower level that he’ll need to grasp with both hands.

Does get half a point for his direct hit to run out Kane Williamson on Day 2 after the Black Cap collided mid-pitch with non-striker Will Young.

Cameron Green – 9.5


Coming of age at a time of great need, not only did Green defy hostile conditions and a fired-up New Zealand bowling attack with a first-day century; he then backed up on Day 2 to finish unbeaten on 174, having put on 116 with Josh Hazlewood.

The most assured-looking batter in the second innings as well, the all-rounder vindicated selectors’ decision to let him make the No.4 slot his own, which it certainly is now.


A final-day wicket was just the icing on the cake of a dream Test.

Travis Head – 4

You couldn’t say Head’s sketchy recent form turned around in Wellington, with a punchy second-innings 29 showing the flair he can produce at his best, but not for nearly long enough.

Has become a golden arm with the ball, removing Black Caps opener Will Young in his first over on Day 3 – though he had plenty to thank Smith for.

Mitchell Marsh – 6

With Australia in strife at 4/89 on Day 1, Marsh’s momentum-changing run-a-ball 40 may have paled in comparison to Green’s epic, but the Western Australian’s knock took significant pressure off his state teammate and allowed him to build an innings while keeping the scoreboard ticking over.


Added the wicket of Young in the first innings, but that’s where his match all but ended – out first ball in the second innings and not bowling as Australia wrapped the match up.

Alex Carey – 3

Solid as ever behind the stumps, albeit with far more byes than usual in the second innings as a turning track made keeping to Nathan Lyon fiendishly difficult – but like many of his teammates, Carey’s lack of runs is starting to become a problem.

Scores of just 10 and 3 in Wellington leave him averaging just 21 since stumping Jonny Bairstow during last year’s Ashes, and with Josh Inglis striking a century in the Sheffield Shield, the South Australian’s national spot is certainly far from impregnable as home series against India and England begin to loom.

Mitchell Starc – 4

Save for Australia’s first wicket of the match, Tom Latham’s chop-on on Day 2, the left-armer was probably the least threatening of the visitors’ attack – though far from dreadful.


Meanwhile, his once supremely handy batting has managed an average of just 13 since the start of the 2023 Ashes.

Pat Cummins (c) – 6

It’s a rarity for Cummins to muster just one wicket in a Test, but the captain was still, by and large, splendid with the ball even if most of it didn’t show on the scoreboard.

However, gets a bonus mark for another excellent captaincy display; whether rotating the bowlers or switching the field, the great fast bowler has a Midas touch these days.

Nathan Lyon – 9


Ten wickets for the champion off-spinner – a record haul for a slow bowler at the Basin Reserve – plus a sprightly 41 with the bat, meant only Green contributed more to Australia’s victory, and then not by much.


His four wickets on the final day in Wellington were the pick of the bunch – after switching ends early in the day, he removed Rachin Ravindra, Tom Blundell and Glenn Phillips to rip the heart out of the Black Caps’ middle order and all but seal the match.

The Lyon legend only grows further.

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Josh Hazlewood – 8.5

One of Australia’s handiest No.11s in history, Hazlewood proved he’s no mug with the bat early on Day 2 in Wellington, with his rock-solid performance combining with the Green’s power hitting to add 116 runs for the final wicket, putting the match out of the Black Caps’ reach.

Not quite as spectacular with the ball, but did chime in with four wickets, including two to finally snuff out New Zealand’s resistance early on Day 4.