Aussies hang on for 10 run win

The touring Australian team have taken a 1-0 lead in the 5 match one-day international series versus New Zealand in Wellington, after surviving a late charge by Hamish Marshall to win by 10 runs.

Kiwi Scott Styris had commented that whoever won the twenty20 match in Auckland would probably have the upper hand at the start of the one-day series. However, his teammates were out to prove him wrong. After Ponting won the toss and batted on a slow Westpac stadium pitch the danger man, Adam Gilchrist, was dismissed by Kyle Mills off just the 7th ball of the game for 4.

The home side would not celebrate another wicket for just over 30 overs as Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting took control of the game. Hayden was lucky to be at the game after suffering from a viral infection just days earlier. He showed, however, that he had made a complete recovery, smashing several boundaries. Ponting played well against all bowlers ticking the score and strike over.

Hayden brought up his half century off 82 balls and the Australian total passed 100 shortly after, in the 23rd over. Ponting reached half century off just 70 balls, but the fun for the Australians ended there as they lost 5 wickets for only 20 runs in a dramatic mid-innings collapse.

Styris was the main culprit, picking up four of the five wickets. His first victim, Hayden, was bowled with the score on 140. Ponting followed him back to the sheds soon after, dismissed by the same bowler for a well-made 61. Martyn provided little resistance and was out for 7. Clarke continued his bad form, caught by Marshall off Styris for a 5-ball duck. Cairns then chipped in with a wicket of his own, Simon Katich also gone for a fifth-ball duck. Australia was now reeling with the score on 6/160 off 38.5 overs.

However, holding steady at the other end was Andrew Symonds who played himself in and then let loose, smashing Cairns for consecutive sixes. He and Brad Hogg took the score up to 229 before Symonds was out to Cairns for a dazzling 54 off just 44 balls. Some late hitting off the last over by Hogg and Brett Lee took the Australian total to 7/236 off their allotted 50 overs. Hogg’s vital innings of 25 not out off 33 balls ensured that the Aussies still had a good chance of winning the match. Styris was the pick of the bowlers, ending up with figures of 4/40 off his 10.

The Kiwi top order was faced with a daunting task, facing a fired up Brett Lee and deadly accurate McGrath with the new ball in their hands. As they had done in the recent VB series, the pair made early break throughs. Lee trapped captain Stephen Fleming LBW for 5 and Glenn McGrath picked up Matthew Sinclair caught behind for a duck, to leave the home side on 2/16. Just 22 runs were taken off the first 10 overs and the slow pace continued for much of the innings.

After supporting Nathan Astle for some time, Scott Styris was dismissed by Symonds for 14 off 48 balls to leave the score on 3/72 off nearly 25 overs. It got worse for the New Zealanders when Cairns was run out by Glichrist for a duck.

Astle, who had been the only batsman to face up to the Australian attack, reached his fifty off 98 balls before being bowled by Brad Hogg for 65, leaving the score on 5/113. The Kiwis now needed 123 runs off 99 balls with just 5 wickets in hand. However, all this didn’t seem to deter Hamish Marshall and Craig McMillan from having a go as the pair lifted both the run rate and their team’s hopes. McMillan did the hitting, once smashing Symonds for a huge 6 and in the process losing the ball, while Marshall placed the ball into the gaps and ran hard.

In a bid to slow McMillan down, Gilchrist stood up the stumps to McGrath and was rewarded as he took a 136km/h ball beside the stumps and whipped off the bails to dismiss him for 37. It was now all in Marshall’s hands. He and the new man McCullum took the score past 200. Just when it looked as though the Kiwis were about to scrape home with a win, Lee butted in with 2 wickets in the 38 over, claiming the scalps of both McCullum and Vettori.

The game was coming to a thrilling close. The Kiwis needed 13 runs off the last 2 overs with just 2 wickets in hand. The last person they wanted to face was Glenn McGrath, and for good reason as the great Aussie bowler dismissed Marshall with the first ball of his over and Tuffey with his fourth to bring the home side’s innings to a close on 226, 10 runs short of the required total.

McGrath ended up with marvellous figures of 4/16 off 9.4 overs. Lee also bowled well to finish with 3/41 off 9 overs. Once again the Australian team had shown their resolve under pressure.

The New Zealanders will be hungry for revenge while the Aussies will be keen to extend their lead in the series as the tour heads down to Christchurch for the second ODI on Tuesday.

Score Summary:

Australia: 7/236 (Hayden 71, Ponting 61, Symonds 53, Styris 4/40)

New Zealand: All Out 226 (Marshall 76, Astle 65, McGrath 4/16, Lee 3/41)

Australia wins by 10 runs

Man of the Match: Glenn McGrath

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