Day 3: Match in the balance

An Australian fight back lead by Simon Katich and Adam Gilchrist, who both scored centuries, has left no side with any real match advantage. After eventually dismissing the tourists for 432, the New Zealanders managed to see out the day without loss.

The tourists began the day 292 runs behind the Kiwis’ total of 433 with 7 wickets in hand. Captain Ricky Ponting didn’t pick up where he had left off the day before; he was dismissed early on by Chris Martin for 46 after being 41 not out overnight. Two more quick wickets fell after some tight bowling from James Franklin, Chris Martin and Daniel Vettori. Micheal Clarke was caught behind to Franklin for 8 and night-watchman Jason Gillespie out for 12 to Vettori.

With the tourists now on 6/201, it even seemed that a follow on wasn’t out of the question. However, Simon Katich and Adam Gilchrist began a 212 run partnership which was to bring the Aussies back into the match. Gilchrist was at his hard-hitting best, cracking boundaries all over the park. He took a particular liking to a 3 over spell from Vettori which brought him 29 runs. Katich played a more patient but still aggressive innings, pulling through square leg and driving through the covers with ease.

Katich reached his hundred off 173 balls, an innings which is sure to cement his spot at number 6 for at least the rest of the series. The pair managed to take the Australian total over 400. However, Gilchrist was out caught to Vettori for a sparkling 121 off just 126 balls soon after. His innings included 12 fours and 6 huge sixes, most of them cracked off his captor, Vettori’s, bowling.

Part-timer Nathan Astle then managed to collect Katich for a brilliant 118 to leave the tourists total on 8/418. A short Australian tail then provided little resistance as Vettori claimed the last two wickets to end the innings on 432. Despite being taken apart earlier on by Gilchrist, Vettori was by far the best of the Kiwi bowlers and was rewarded with a 5-fer.

Stephen Fleming and Craig Cumming then managed to see out the final six overs and play and extend the home side’s lead to 10 runs. Tomorrow is a crucial day for both sides and will decide wether this already well-contested match ends in a thrilling climax or fizzles to a draw.

Score Summary:

NEW ZEALAND 433 all out in 141 overs
HJH Marshall 146, CD Cumming 74, NJ Astle 74;
GD McGrath 6/115, SK Warne 2/112

AUSTRALIA 432 all out in 123.2 overs
AC Gilchrist 121, SM Katich 118, RT Ponting 46;
DL Vettori 5/106

NEW ZEALAND (second innings) 0/9 from 6 overs
SP Fleming 7*

New Zealand lead by 10 runs

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Alex Feeney