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Australia thump NZ in first Test

Defender Sharni Layton starred in Australia's opening clash of their netball series with England.
Aussies thump NZ in first Test
Photo Source: AAP

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Australia's tall timber shooters Caitlin Bassett and Gretel Tippett posed New Zealand plenty of problems as the Diamonds thumped the Silver Ferns 68-56 in the first Constellation Cup netball Test in Sydney.

The Diamonds equalled their highest ever score against the Silver Ferns on Sunday and never trailed again after conceding the first goal of the match.

They scored the next nine and the visitors never got closer than two in the first half and the gap didn't dip below nine in the second.

Player of the match, the 193cm Bassett, followed up her international career best effort of 53 goals in Australia's last game against the Silver Ferns by nailing all 47 of her attempts before being replaced at three-quarter time.

Tippett, at 192cm , was starting a Test alongside Bassett for the first time and shot three from four in the first half.

But she racked up seven assists and troubled the Ferns with her athleticism and unorthordox play.

"We really wanted to expose the C Bass-Gretel combination today and it was probably a dream start for that," Diamonds' coac h Lisa Alexander said.

Australia's four shooters missed just four of their combined 72 shots.

Their deadeye accuracy was complemented by tencious defence which forced 24 turnovers and accurate feeding, especially from wing attack Madi Robinson.

.Australia won each of the first two quarters 16-11 to lead 32-22 at halftime,

They piled on the agony for the Ferns in the third, outscoring them 22-16 to lead 54- 38 at the final change.

New Zealand salvaged some pride in the final quarter, winning it 18-14.

"It was an excellent three quarter effort, the last quarter will burn in us a little bit because we're after winning every quarter," Alexander said.

Bailey Mes top scored for New Zealand with 28, but committed eight turnovers under pressure from the irrepressible Sharni Layton.

"They took the game by the throat from the very first whistle and we were very slow to start, so we' have to have a very good look at that," New Zealand coach Janine Southby said.

"At times we strung together some good plays but it wasn't consistent enough, so overall (I'm) pretty disappointed."

The four-match series continues in Launceston on Wednesday.

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