Third test, Day 1: Marnus Labuschagne leads while Australia takes over Sydney

SYDNEY Marnus Labuschagne He continued his purple patch of shape in the New Year when Australia reached 182 for two on tea on the first day of the third test against a side of New Zealand devastated by a disease and the missing captain Kane Williamson on Friday.

A Blacks Caps team with five changes from the team that lost in Melbourne to give up the three-game series fought as a player, but Labuschagne looked good in 73, not after scoring his sixth half century in his last seven innings.

Steve Smith He was undefeated in 42 after taking 39 balls to get out of the mark, his determination not to fall to the fast New Zealand Neil Wagner for the fifth time in this series apparently overcoming his desire to score runs.

Wagner took a big gate when he took off David Warner for 45 three balls after lunch with a delivery on the side of the leg that the Australian starter drove to burn Colin de Grandhomme take a good catch

De Grandhomme was responsible for a single gate falling in the first session when he had the other starter, Joe Burns, caught in the slips of an outer edge for 18.

The day had a chaotic start for New Zealand when Williamson and hitter Henry Nicholls were ruled out of the game by a flu virus just before launch, while spinner Mitchell Santner was too sick to leave the team's hotel.

Tom Latham was named captain at Williamson's place and his first act was to lose a shot that tourists would have been desperate to win after selecting two spinners and dropping pacemaker Tim Southee.

With Southee's usual attack partner, Trent Boult, ruled out for an injury, New Zealand began a test for the first time in more than a decade without one of them or Williamson on the side.

Both teams wore black bracelets in memory of those who lost their lives in forest fires and before the start of the game joined the crowd in a minute of applause for emergency services fighting conflagrations.

The skies were clear of the smoke from the forest fires that the city has covered several times in recent months and has organizers prepared for delays during the game.