Aussies complete clean sweep

Australia has completed a clean sweep of the ODI series against New Zealand after winning the fifth match by 122 runs. A dominant innings of 141 by Ricky Ponting all but ensured the tourists would come away with the win.

After winning the toss, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming boldly decided to send the Australians in on a good pitch, time would later tell that it was definitely the wrong decision. Adam Gilchrist dictated the first quarter of the Australian innings, scoring the majority of the runs at a ferocious pace. Simon Katich was the only early wicket, out caught behind to Hamilton for 5. The Australian total, however, was already at 37.

Ponting strode to the crease and played with immense confidence, showing no side effects from the thigh strain which kept him out of the 4th ODI. At the other end, Gilchrist was getting more dangerous by the minute, racing to his fifty from just 37 balls, having already hit 7 fours and a six. By the 19th over, Gilchrist was in his 90’s. Fortunately for the Kiwis, his innings came to a close when Tama Canning dismissed him for a blistering 91 off 61 balls, leaving the Australian total on 2/129.

The runs still flowed after Gilchrist’s departure with runs streaming off the blades of Ponting and Martyn. In the 35th over, Martyn was out for a well made 40 and was soon followed back to the pavilion by Andrew Symonds, run out for 17 with the score on 4/241 with still 10.4 overs left in the innings.

What was to follow was a flurry of boundaries and a total soaring over the 300 mark. Ponting brought up his century off 110 balls and then went into rampage-mode, dismantling the Kiwi attack along with Micheal Clarke. McMillan managed to get rid of Clarke for 43 with two balls left in the innings. However, Ponting took full advantage of those last two balls, sending both of them sailing over the boundary for six to end his spectacular innings on 141 not out. The Australians had posted a total of 347, a score reminiscent of the 2003 World Cup final.

Daniel Vettori was the only bowler to register respectable figures, going for only 3.7 runs per over while all his team mates went for well over a run a ball. The Australian bowlers were to fare much better as they ripped through the Kiwi line up to dismiss them for 225.

A fired up Brett Lee send down deliveries at over a 100mph, while Micheal Kasprowicz was deadly accurate. Together the pair took 3 early wickets to leave the home side on 3/60.

The only batsmen who were able to provide any form of resistance for the rest of the innings were Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum. The pair battled through the middle overs, even though almost all hope of a win had long since faded. McMillan reached his fifty off only 55 balls, while McCullum stayed solid at the other end. Symonds was eventually able to pick up McMillan for 63, and it was all downhill from there for the New Zealanders as they collapsed from 4/167 to 225 all out, 122 runs short of the required total.

The wickets were evenly shared between the bowlers with Kasprowicz taking 3, Symonds 2 and Lee and McGrath 1 apiece. The Australian selectors will still need to decide on who will be the fourth bowler for the upcoming Test series, Lee or Kasprowicz, both would merit a selection in the side. New Zealand, on the other hand, have much greater problems to resolve if they are to be competitive in the 3 match Test series, beginning on the 10th of March in Christchurch.

Score Summary

Australia: 347/5 (R Ponting 141*, A Gilchrist, 91, M Clarke 43, D Martyn 40, D Vettori 0/37)

New Zealand: 225/8 (C McMillan 63, B McCullum 36, S Fleming 35, M Kasprowicz 3/36, A Symonds 2/25)

Australia won by 112 runs

MOTM: Ricky Ponting

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