Sydney, March 13: Pacemen Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were to the fore as Australia claimed a 71-run win over New Zealand in the first ODI of the Chappell-Hadlee Series.
In a match that took place in the surreal environs of a deserted Sydney Cricket Ground – fans were not allowed to attend due to coronavirus measures – Australia captain Aaron Finch and fellow opener David Warner laid a solid foundation with scores of 60 and 67 respectively, combining for an opening stand of 124 in 24 overs.
The hosts wobbled to 165-4 as New Zealand battled back from Lockie Ferguson's (2-60) removal of Warner, with spinners Ish Sodhi (3-51) and Mitchell Santner (2-34) the pick of their attack.
Marnus Labuschagne kept Australia on course for a solid total, however, with a busy 56 from 52 balls that featured only two fours.
Mitchell Marsh added a similarly industrious 27 and the seam-bowling all-rounder chipped in with 3-29 as New Zealand rarely looked like threatening a target of 258-7.
Openers Martin Guptill (40) and Henry Nicholls made glacial progress, unable to get Australia's new ball bowlers away and they were 28-1 when the latter edged Hazlewood (2-37) behind.
The Black Caps' race was effectively run in a three-over period that saw leg-spinner Adam Zampa bowl Kane Williamson for 19, Ross Taylor thrash Marsh to Mitchell Starc at midwicket and Cummins (3-25) remove Guptill courtesy of a fabulous catch by Steve Smith at backward point.
A defiant sixth-wicket stand of 51 between Tom Latham (38) and Colin de Grandhomme (25) was New Zealand's final reason for fleeting optimism before Hazlewood had Latham caught in the deep after drinks and 147-6 began to subside to an eventual 187 all out with nine overs left unused.