Hayden leads Christchurch rout

Matthew Hayden’s dramatic return to form powered Australia to a 106-run thrashing of New Zealand to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Chappell-Hadlee series. Hayden scored his first ODI century in over a year, making 114 to set up Australia’s imposing total of 6/314. In reply, New Zealand failed to recover from a disastrous start which saw them collapse to 6/73, and only a career-best effort from Daniel Vettori gave their total an aspect of respectability.

On a near-perfect Christchurch pitch, Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming sent Australia in to bat, reasoning that his side would be more suited to chasing. The decision paid immediate dividends when, on the second ball of the match, Adam Gilchrist lazily flicked a delivery down the legside straight to his opposite number Brendon McCullum. The early dismissal gave Tuffey figures of 1/0, but it did not take long for Hayden and Ponting to set about ruining his analysis. After recovering much of his lost form with a composed 71 in the first ODI, Hayden laboured the point by taking 10 runs from two balls in Tuffey’s third over. Tuffey’s next over was blasted for 14 by Ponting, charging him for sixes over long-off and a flick over midwicket, as the pair pushed Australia’s total past fifty early on.

Chris Cairns and Kyle Mills both failed to stem the flow of runs as Ponting assaulted the boundary boards, while Hayden eased into stride at better than a run a ball. A couple of deft boundaries off Mills lifted Ponting past fifty, but a potentially devastating innings was cut short by a direct hit from substitute fielder James Marshall, the identical twin of Hamish. Hayden however refused to slacken the pace, and brought up his own half-century soon later with a spectacular six off Cairns over long-on. Martyn began sedately, but the run-rate was rarely an issue as Hayden peppered the boundary boards, taking to Wilson early in his spell. Astle too came in for punishment as Hayden motored towards a fifth ODI century in a blur of boundaries, ultimately bringing it up with a single to mid-off in the 37th over.

Martyn played second fiddle but nonetheless managed a fluent 58 from 70 deliveries, before a direct hit from McMillan at long-off ended the 133-run stand. Hayden finally fell just six balls later to a Kyle Mills slower ball, missing out on a third six on 114. His innings included an impressive array of boundaries – fourteen in all – including two sixes. Symonds, Clarke and Hussey were left to see out the Australian innings, and succeeded in picking up the run rate from 5.77 to well over six per over. Wilson’s lack of recent international experience came under close scrutiny as the batsmen capitalised on anything short or overpitched; indeed, Wilson’s six overs went for a mammoth 57 runs.

Symonds missed out, scoring just 13 before falling to a sharp catch by Wilson at deep point, bringing Michael Hussey in for just his second ODI innings. He proved more than adept, making a swift 32 from 20 balls, including a six off Tuffey from the last delivery of the innings. After his great start, Tuffey finished with the ignominious figures of 1/72 from eight overs as Australia posted an impressive 6/314. Of the bowlers, only Vettori was treated with anything less than disdain, conceding just 31 runs from 10 overs in a controlled display of spin bowling.

Like Pakistan before them, New Zealand’s chase was hampered by the top order failing to survive new-ball spells from Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath. The pressure of the chase forced captain Fleming into a rash shot in just the first over, chasing a short and wide Lee delivery only to edge to Gilchrist on 1. Gilchrist’s disappointment at getting a duck was quickly eradicated as he was to become the first ‘keeper to take 300 ODI catches. Beginning the night on 296, it was perhaps an unexpected bonus, but the top five all gifted him catches as the Kiwis crumbled. Astle fell attempting to drive McGrath on 3, while a tame edge by Sinclair on 15 put him under yet more pressure to relinquish his spot in the side, as New Zealand fell to 3/28.

Hamish Marshall briefly threatened to reignite the form that saw him nearly take New Zealand to victory in the first ODI, lifting Lee over third man for six. On 16 however he became Gilchrist’s 300th victim, courtesy of ODI cricket’s version of c. Marsh b. Lillee: c. Gilchrist b. McGrath. With the required rate now edging towards seven per over, Cairns blasted away from the outset, blasting two fours and a six over square leg to give New Zealand a glimmer of hope. Whatever hope remained disappeared in the space of three balls, as McMillan edged Symonds on 12 to give Gilchrist a five-for, and Cairns follwed two balls later, via a spectacular catch on the square-leg boundary by batting hero Matthew Hayden.

With the Kiwis having slumped to 6/73, not even a compelling bid for allrounder status from Daniel Vettori could turn proceedings in New Zealand’s favour. Vettori breezed past his previous ODI best of 33 by some fifty runs to take the hosts at least past 200. He received token support from McCullum and Wilson, but victory was never on the cards as Mills was eventually last out in the 41st over. Vettori’s 83 came from just 77 balls and included ten fours, but he alone made the most of a good pitch for New Zealand as they fell some 106 runs short of Australia’s total with 208.

With the five-match series already 2-0 in Australia’s favour, New Zealand cannot afford to play – in particular to bat – as poorly as they did tonight, and indeed they can only hope that Australia do not play at this standard again. Sinclair faces the prospect of being dumped after repeated ODI failures, while of the bowlers, only Vettori, who has conceded just 64 runs from 20 overs in the series so far, has commanded the respect of Australia’s batsmen. Only two teams have won a five-match ODI series from 2-0 down previously, but the Auckland crowd on Saturday will no doubt be hoping that there will be a third.

Score Summary:

AUSTRALIA 6 for 314 from 50 overs
ML Hayden 114 (124), DR Martyn 58 (70), RT Ponting 53 (57);
KD Mills 2/62 (10), DL Vettori 0/31 (10)

NEW ZEALAND 208 all out from 40.4 overs
DL Vettori 83 (77);
A Symonds 3/41 (6), B Lee 2/28 (8), GD McGrath 2/42 (7), JN Gillespie 2/45 (9.4)

Result: Australia win by 106 runs
Series: Australia lead 2-0 with three matches to play

Man of the Match: ML Hayden, 114 (124)

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