Martyn ton puts Aussies on top

A superb Damien Martyn century has helped Australia to end day 2 on 5/337 after the Kiwis failed to make use of perfect bowling conditions.

After the day 1 wash-out, both teams were keen to take to the field and establish an advantage. The ball seamed and swung early on and it seemed that with some disciplined bowling, the home side had a chance of knocking over the Aussies cheaply. However, New Zealand captain, Stephen Fleming, dropped Justin Langer on 0 and the bowlers wasted the new ball with some inaccurate bowling. For much of the first session, Langer and Hayden refused to be dislodged. Both batsmen played cautious innings to suit the conditions, reflecting both their experience and maturity.

After taking the score up to 82, Langer attempted a sweep off Vettori which appeared to have brushed his gloves on the way past to the wicket-keeper. Umpire David Shepard agreed that was the case and sent Langer on his way for a sensible 46. The in-form Ricky Ponting strode to the crease, looking to build on his openers’ platform, but soon found himself back in the sheds after Vettori picked up his second wicket, trapping him LBW for just 9.

Hayden had managed to fight his way to 61 off 146 balls before he mishit James Franklin to cover, leaving the score on 3/146 with Damien Martyn at the other end. The wicket of Micheal Clarke, who edged to first slip off Nathan Astle soon after the dismissal of Hayden, helped New Zealand back into the game with Australia stuttering on 4/167 at tea.

However, the last session belonged almost entirly to Martyn who, along with the support of Simon Katich and Adam Gilchrist, began to pile on the runs at an alarming rate. A series of trademark drives, flicks and cuts helped Martyn add 82 more runs to his total in the session. Simon Katich chipped in with 35 and Adam Gilchrist attacked in his usual style, adding a quick-fire 90 with Martyn in the last hour of play to end up on 45 not out off only 47 balls.

Martyn brought up his 12th Test century, including 17 elegant boundaries, just before the close of play and left the ground unbeaten on 106. The last session, in which 163 runs were smashed, had given the Aussies the upper hand after both sides were evenly placed at tea.

An early breakthrough tomorrow morning is vital to New Zealand’s hopes of staying in the match. If, however, their bowlers fail in doing that, they may be struggling to hang on for a draw, even though only 3 days of play remain.

Score Summary: Stumps – Day 1

Australia 5/337;
Martyn 106*, Hayden 61, Langer 46, Gilchrist 45*, Vettori 2/74

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