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Steve Smith's 'nightmare' opener scenario as Australia tumble in New Zealand

The Aussie great has endured a brutal series in New Zealand as opener.

Steve Smith's tough move to opener for the Aussie cricket team has continued having being dismissed for nine runs and using up another Australian review. New Zealand toiled away on day three of the Test against Australia and managed to build a 279 run lead to hand cricket fans in attendance a thrilling final few hours of the day.

With the pitch hardening up, conditions looked good for the batters as Smith and Usman Khawaja strode out to the crease. However, after 25 balls, Matt Henry caught Smith LBW right in front as the umpire gave him out.

Steve Smith (pictured) endured a tough series in New Zealand having been dismissed for nine in his new role as opener. (Getty Images)
Steve Smith (pictured) endured a tough series in New Zealand having been dismissed for nine in his new role as opener. (Getty Images)

Smith was not convinced and with one second left, Smith quickly reviewed the decision and sent it upstairs. However, the ball was pitching in line and hitting middle stump. Smith had to walk and it signalled the end of his batting in New Zealand after four innings.

Unfortunately, Smith averaged 12.75 across the two Test matches in his first tour as an opening batter. And fans were quick to jump on the dismissal with many calling for one of Australia's all-time greatest batters to move back down the order.

While it was Smith's decision to move up the order - to reinvigorate his career after David Warner retired - he has not lived up to his own lofty standards having only surpassed 50 once in eight innings. With his average once sitting well above 60, the 34-year-old's average has now dropped to 56.97 after a lean year.

Fans were also frustrated with Smith once again reviewing an LBW decision right away with another failed call. Smith deserves plenty of time at the top of the order to settle in and make his mark. After all, he has scored more than 9,600 runs in his Test career and will go down as arguably the best red-ball batter of his generation. But it appears Aussie fans are ready for the experiment to end.

Steve Smith and Australia tumble in New Zealand

Smith wasn't the only one to struggle after tea on day three. Smith went after facing 25 balls, but wickets tumbled with Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green following. Australia were 3-40 chasing 279 with Henry once again leading the charge.

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Labuschagne would be disappointed he couldn't follow up his first innings form, having top scored with 90, after having finally looked like he had turned his form around. Mitch Marsh and Travis Head were left to rescue Australia from another drawn series.

Steve Smith plays a shot.
Steve Smith (pictured) endured a tough series as opener in New Zealand. (Kai Schwoerer via Getty Images)

Earlier in the day, Rachin Ravindra (82) and Daryl Mitchell (58) made half-centuries on Sunday, adding to similar knocks from Tom Latham (73) and Kane Williamson (51) on Saturday. Scott Kuggeleijn added to the tally having smashed 44 off 49 deliveries to frustrate the Australian attack.

Australia are seeking the nation's biggest run-chase on New Zealand soil. And the home side are seeking their first victory against Australia in 31 years.

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