As New Zealand slumped to 51 for five on the opening day of the first test against Australia, social media accusations turned into a 'whodunnit?' plot of Agatha Christie proportions as to how the innings could have suffered such damage.

Groundsman Hagen Faith became chief suspect for daring to grow grass on the Basin Reserve wicket. At one point it seemed he'd soon need to throw his heavy roller into top gear and make a getaway from the baying cyber mob.

Was it really Faith's fault? That seems myopic. There's generally spice in a first day Wellington pitch, and there probably should be on test wickets anywhere in the world, given how much cricket has become a batsman's game. And, if it was such a minefield, how did Australia's Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith negotiate a 126-run stand in the final session?

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Surely other suspects needed to be interrogated. Ten catches in the 183 total suggests the batsmen were still adjusting after a one-day series. Or was it the Australians exploiting the seam-friendly conditions to perfection?

The culprit is more likely to come from those candidates.

New Zealand had few answers as the Australians either pitched the ball on a good length or used the appreciable bounce of the Patumahoe clay to test backward defences. The first seven dismissals came from edges behind the wicket.

Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill showed glimpses of form, but that entertainment proved short-lived; they fell for 16 and 18 respectively within the space of seven balls.

Hazlewood's four wickets were reward for an uncompromising line and length which tested the New Zealanders in the corridor of uncertainty.

His opening spell of eight overs from the RA Vance End, saw him remove both openers and Brendon McCullum. After lunch, his dessert was B-J Watling.

"We bowled well as a unit," Hazlewood said. "Credit also goes to Peter Siddle and Mitch Marsh bowling into the wind from that [Adelaide Rd] end.

"Bowling partnerships make a big difference. It was a case of drying up one end by building dots and pressure which ends in wickets."

"You've got to hand it to the way the Aussies bowled, they got it in the right areas which made it tough to score," New Zealand's Mark Craig added.

"I wouldn't say it was seaming massively, but once they bowled that slightly fuller length it was doing enough to grab both edges with the newer ball."