Aussies continue brilliant form

Published: Saturday, February 19, 2000, 5:30 [IST]
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AFP PhotoNew Zealand batsmen succumbed to the superior craft of the Australian attack in the second of the six-match ODI Series on Saturday in Auckland. No doubt, the home team bowlers put up a tough fight. But defending a meagre total of 122 proved an exercise in futility. The first game in Wellington was hit by rain on Feb 16. It was replayed on Feb 17 when rain prevented further play after Australia had made 119 for one. Today the four-man Australian attack performed with high degree of imagination.

The catching ability of the Australian fielders was, as usual, amazing. Generally, nothing could go wrong for a team blessed with such performers. The New Zealand batsmen had no clue to the intelligent methods of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee (3 wickets each), Shane Warne and Shane Lee (2 each). Mark Waugh, at slip, and wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist snapped up two catches each, while Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds excelled in the outfield. Brett Lee took the most spectacular catch of the day. He ran to his left from the fine leg position and capped a diving effort with a low left-handed catch. That was off a hook shot from Chris Cairns off McGrath. The home team would not have crossed the 100-mark but for some tenacious efforts by Roger Twose (25), Craig McMillan (35) and Daniel Vettori (22).

Twose was mesmerised by a superbly angled leg break from Warne. The ball curled and breezed between the bat and pad of the batsman and hit the stumps. That was indeed a typical leg-spinner's beauty. McMillan edged Brett Lee into the gloves of Gilchrist and Vettori fell to a diving catch by Symonds off McGrath. The team innings lasted just 30.1 overs. The approach of the New Zealand bowlers was commendable. Left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori shared the new ball with Chris Cairns and the two brought cheers to the home team by removing openers Gilchrist and Mark Waugh for 27 runs in 3.4 overs.

Waugh (2), Gilchrist (10), Andrew Symonds (33 in 26) and Michael Bevan (8) all were back in the pavilion by the 19th over. But then the score at that juncture stood at 98, just 25 runs away from victory. Matthew Hyden who compiled a brisk 50 (9x4, 1x6), left at 112 (21.1 overs). Steve Waugh and Damien Martyn denied further success for the home team. Martyn hit the winning stroke off the fifth ball of the 25th over.

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