The Black Caps bowling tactics in their 296-run first test thrashing to Australia in Perth raised comparisons with the bodyline series.

Aussie batsman Steve Smith was out to short-pitched bowling from Neil Wagner in each innings with commentator Kerry O'Keeffe labelling him the "modern day Bradman".

Cricket fans will know the most effective strategy to Bradman was also one of the darkest days in cricket with Bodyline, which was used in the 1932-33 series between Australia and England.

It appears that Bodyline is alive and well with Tim Paine comparing the peppering at Optus Stadium with the famous series.


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But this time, the Aussie quicks are ready to give it back as hard as they get it.

"It was great theatre, wasn't it?" Paine said in the post-match press conference.

"We were just having a laugh when we were bowling at their tail that it's going to be a bit of Bodyline for a lot of the series. There's been a lot of talk about it but regardless of the pace of the two teams, they're very skilled at executing that ball and they set a great field for it. So it's a completely different challenge to what you get from other teams. They're very good at it and it's very clever.

"We need to get better at it but having said that we thought we played really well. What I do know is that our boys won't be getting any slower as the series goes on."

New Zealand's Neil Wagner reacts after he fielded the ball of his own bowling to Australia's Steve Smith. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Neil Wagner reacts after he fielded the ball of his own bowling to Australia's Steve Smith. Photo / AP

Cricket purists were cringing at Matthew Wade's batting in the second innings of the first Test match with the star taking the bruises and staring down Wagner in particular.

While it was a brave stance to cop the blows rather than dodge the ball, it finally got the best of him when he sledged Wagner with a "keep coming big boy".

While he well and truly showed he had no fear, the commentators could hardly believe what they were seeing.


"It was a bizarre innings from Matthew Wade," Kerry O'Keeffe said on Fox Cricket.

"That can't be the way Matthew Wade wants to play in Test cricket," Michael Vaughan added.

"He's a Test match number five you've got to ask a question or two of the bowler."

Michael Hussey also mentioned that it was a tactic from Wade after the short ball barrage.

The scene was bizarre, especially when Wade was caught off a short ball from Colin de Grandhomme soon after.

But it was a tactic that worked for Wade better than most with the variable bounce wreaking havoc on day four.

Wagner set a new record for the most bouncers by any bowler in a Test match in Australia since 2006, when they started records on the stat.

Short pitched bowling had worked on Saturday night, nabbing most of the Australian wickets including the prized scalp of Steve Smith.

Unfortunately for the Kiwis, they had to bat and Australia had a chance to respond.

Although not at pace, extra bounce out of the rough helped Nathan Lyon grab a wicket and Pat Cummins unleashed a brutal delivery out of a crack for BJ Watling, giving the Kiwis a taste of their own medicine.