SYDNEY, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Marnus Labuschagne was 181 not out as Australia reached 354 for five at lunch on the second day of the third test against New Zealand at a sunbathed Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Black Caps spinner Will Somerville bowled Matthew Wade for 22 in the first over of the day and seamer Matt Henry, nursing a broken thumb on his non-bowling hand, removed Travis Head for 10 half an hour before lunch.
Labuschagne, however, looked largely untroubled as he continued his golden summer, passing 150 for the third time in Australia’s five home tests this season and heading towards his first double century.
Captain Tim Paine will resume alongside Labuschagne after lunch, having scored 10 from 26 balls.
Australia have already secured the three-match series after thumping wins in Perth and Melbourne and another already looked on the cards when they resumed on 283-3.
There had been concerns that the soaring temperatures forecast for Saturday might worsen the bushfire emergency around Australia and that the blanket of acrid smoke that has covered Sydney on several occasions in recent weeks might return.
Play got underway under blue skies, however, and Somerville was soon celebrating his first test wicket at a ground where he played for four years for New South Wales.
Wade is known for his sweeping but the tall off-spinner fired down a high, slow delivery that the Australian missed with the ball going on to hit the off stump.
New Zealand, weakened by the absence through illness of Kane Williamson, batman Henry Nicholls and spinner Mitch Santner, fought hard for another breakthrough and finally got their reward through Henry, who broke his left thumb on day one.
The right-arm seamer fired down a length ball that Head tried to cut only to catch an edge which New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling snaffled up behind the stumps. (Editing by Himani Sarkar)