Wellington collapse soothes Ashes ghosts

Australia on the right side of a dramatic collapse in first Test against New Zealand after the horrors of England tour

Steve Smith relived memories of Australia's Ashes angst during the first trans-Tasman Test.

Thankfully for Smith it was New Zealand reeling after a collapse of 5-34 on day one of the clash in Wellington.

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Smith's correct call at the toss, coupled with some fine bowling from Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle, meant he was able to sit back and enjoy the carnage.

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"It was one of those mornings where there weren't too many plays and misses and they nicked most of the balls," the skipper said.

"A little bit like us at Edgbaston I guess, or Trent Bridge.

"It was nice to have one of those mornings ... it was a pretty good toss to win.

"You still have to take your chances and I thought the guys caught really well in this Test."

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Smith has been speaking about the need to win away and adapt to local conditions, with both bat and ball, since Australia handed over the urn last year in England.

The recent Basin Reserve match was his side's first chance to put those words into practice.

Smith was impressed with what they delivered.

"We had to put the ball in the right areas and I think we did that for an extended period and put the New Zealand batters under a lot of pressure," the 26-year-old said.

"We reaped the rewards from that.

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"With our batting, we were a lot more disciplined about the way we played; willing to bat for long periods and get through the tough periods."

Smith singled out centurions Adam Voges and Usman Khawaja for praise but noted the entire top order was firing, despite openers David Warner (5) and Joe Burns (0) missing out in Wellington.

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"All the guys are working extremely hard to try and have success in all conditions," he said. "I was really pleased with the way our batters performed."

That included Smith, who bounced back from an unproductive ODI series in New Zealand with a knock of 71 when the pressure was on Australia.

The visitors slipped to 2-5 before Smith, Khawaja and Voges steadied.

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"It was nice to have that little partnership with Usman. I didn't feel great probably until I got dropped," Smith said.

"That sort of switched me on a little bit and I felt quite comfortable from there, obviously until I got out.

"It was nice to spend a bit of time in the middle and hopefully I'll be better for the run."

Australia will reclaim the No.1 Test ranking if they win or draw the second Test, which starts in Christchurch on Saturday.