Aus continue its winnings ways

Australia continued its successful summer in Hobart today as they fended off a Shane Bond hat-trick and an electric Ross Taylor 84 to beat a competitive New Zealand by 105 runs, picking up a bonus point in the process.

Earlier in the day Australia won the toss and got off to flying start, their first fifty coming before the eighth over. Gilchrist, his regular swashbuckling self took the game to the New Zealand bowlers from the word ‘go’ and didn’t look back. Shane Bond began the bowling beautifully, regularly beating Matthew Hayden but proved to be luckless as the openers targeted James Franklin from both ends.

With the Australian batsman threatening to take the game away from New Zealand early, Jeetan Patel was brought on and made early inroads with an economical first over with Mark Gillespie gaining the vital breakthrough at the other end, removing Matthew Hayden for 27.

Hayden, who played a secondary innings to the explosive Gilchrist, attempted to pull the ball, but instead edged it the keeper, McCullum. The handy knock from Hayden doing nothing to harm his World Cup chances.

With the Gilchrist 50 approaching, one might have forgiven him for easing his way there, and settling down. In a whirlwind over, the vice-captain hit a wonderful four down mid-on to bring up his second fifty for the first two one-day games of the series, a six, rocketing the ball out of the ground and out two deliveries later. Patel taking the vital wicket. Gilchrist out LBW for 61.

Next man in, captain Ricky Ponting was unable to impress his home crowd. Historically Hobart has not been his favourite venue and today was no different, a nifty piece of field placings by his opposing number, Stephen Fleming, saw Ponting unsuccessfully attempt to drive a ball straight over cover. Fleming taking the catch off Gillespie’s bowling and New Zealand were clawing their way back into the game.

With an untypcially subdued partnership between Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke, the New Zealand bowlers began to slow up the run-rate. A near-catch and a near-stumping gave the Aussie pair a lifeline, but Vettori bowling beautifully gave nothing to the duo at the crease. Shortly afterwards, Bond, proving to be a bit of a nemesis to the Australians, managed to remove Michael Clarke from the crease. Clarke out for 33, was fooled by the slower ball, hitting it straight up in the air resulting in Nathan Astle taking a tricky but well-timed catch.

New Zealand continued their impressive fight back, with the wicket of Michael Hussey who scored a cautious 20 from 32 balls. The danger man of world cricket losing his wicket to part-timer Craig McMillan.

With six overs remaining, the Australian’s lashed out. Cameron White started the fireworks with two sixes from successive deliveries, one over long-on, the other over deep midwicket. Symonds with a calm 50 under the belt, started playing his natural game as well, hitting two cracking fours at the end of the 45th over.

Another massive six from White, the ball departing from the ground, saw the Australian’s led by the Victorian captain slam on 22 runs in the 47th over.

With Australia closing in on 300 and White and Symonds on an impressive partnership, Bond came in for the final over and promptly bowled a hat-trick – one that will be remembered for a long, long time. Removing Symonds, White and Bracken in successive deliveries, Bond, who had a mixed day so far, prevented the home side from taking the game past the 300 run mark in fantastic style.

It was only a small consolation though as New Zealand would have been rather unhappy at Australia breaking away at the end after they had successfully fought their way back into the game. Australia finishing their innings on 8-289.

The pick of the New Zealand bowlers were Gillespie and Vettori, although only managing two wickets between them, they were able to peg back the attacking Australians and never allowed their team to be blown out of the water.

In reply, New Zealand did not get off to greatest of starts. Hilfenhaus had a stunning debut with a maiden over. Bracken went one better – taking the wicket of Nathan Astle who edged it to the keeper, out for a duck with New Zealand in trouble at 1-5.

The local boy embarked on his dream start to international cricket, taking the wicket of opener Brendon McCullum, plumb LBW. Setting up the batsman with a series of outswingers, the debutant straightened up his next delivery and outfoxed McCullum. New Zealand struggling at this stage on 2-7.

A good partnership between Ross Taylor and Stephen Fleming saw the Black Caps steady the ship. The youngster, Taylor showed much maturity, playing in just his seventh one-day match. Immaculate shot selection and near-perfect timing saw him bring up his second international score past 50, achieved in 57 balls.

The solid partnership came to an end on 73 when Fleming was caught at mid-off by Hussey for 29. Fleming deceived by a slightly slower delivery from Mitchell Johnson.

With Fulton at the crease, New Zealand upped the ante in chase of Australia’s total. Fulton pulled a six over backward square leg, followed by Taylor the next over who plummeted two Symonds balls straight into the crowd. With New Zealand at 3-120 and Australia missing their experienced bowlers; Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, the game was rather evenly poised.

The Black Caps continued their steady run chase with Taylor and Fulton, having amassed a 75 run partnership at the 30 over stage. 3-154 and 135 runs needed with 20 overs to go, a tense match was in the making at Hobart.

With the match in the balance, Johnson made the breakthrough for the Australians, getting the vital wicket of Ross Taylor who played a superb innings of 84 runs off 82 balls. Australia backed it up with another quick wicket, this one coming from an excellent piece of fielding from Michael Clarke, running out Craig McMillan for just two with a direct hit at the nonstriker’s stumps.

New Zealand were unable to stop the flow of wickets as Fulton ended a fine cameo performance by lofting a Clark ball straight to Andrew Symonds who nudged it into the air and caught it easily with the second attempt. New Zealand going from 4-161 to 6-166 in the space of three overs as Australia tightened their grip on the match.

Vettori, didn’t last long. Often more than useful with the bat, he was out for one, attempting to hit a Clark ball over the boundary but finding the ever-reliable hands of Matthew Hayden instead. 7-171 and New Zealand had gone from looking an even chance to take out the match to being down and out within just a few overs.

The tail didn’t put up much of a fight, Bond out for two, clean bowled by Andrew Symonds in a reversal of sorts from the previous innings. Franklin made six before falling to White and Symonds picked up Patel for four to wrap up New Zealand for 184.

All the Australian bowler did well, particularly Bracken, Johnson and Hilfenhaus in debut all performing admirably in the absence of Lee and McGrath. Johnson taking two wickets for 27 runs from his seven overs and Bracken and Hilfenhaus taking 1-25 and 1-26 respectively, also from seven overs.

Australia showed again that are a class above the rest. They stand at two wins from two starts in the tri-series as well as remaining unbeaten for the entire summer so far.

New Zealand will be kicking themselves with the knowledge that they came close in both the batting and bowling departments but were not able to fully capitalise at key moments in the game. They will have two days to recover before they take on an out of sorts England at the same venue on Tuesday.

Australia 289-8
Andrew Symonds 69, Adam Gilchrist 61, Cameron White 45
Mark Gillespie 2-50 Jeetan Patel 1-64

New Zealand 184
Ross Taylor 84, Peter Fulton 37, Stephen Fleming 29
Mitchell Johnson 2-27, Stuart Clark 2-40, Andrew Symonds 2-41

Australia won by 105 runs

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