Guwahati : Michael Bevan led an Australian fightback with an impressive 84 not out against New Zealand in a triangular One-day cricket series match in Guwahati. The left-hander hit seven fours in his 44th half-century as world champions Australia recovered from 61-4 to reach a competitive 225-7 after being put in to bat at the Nehru Stadium on Sunday. Australia, assured of a place in the final, rested wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist, opener Matthew Hayden and seamer Brad Williams, but still managed to post a decent total on a pitch initially favouring seam movement. New Zealand pacemen Daryl Tuffey (2-60) and Kyle Mills (2-36) did the early damage by sharing four wickets before left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori (2-20) struck twice in middle overs to put Australia in trouble.
One-day specialist Bevan then rallied his team with a sensible knock, adding 78 for the fifth wicket with skipper Ricky Ponting (52) and 61 for the unbroken eighth wicket with Andy Bichel (15 not out). New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming's decision to field first after winning the toss paid rich dividends as Tuffey and Mills exploited early freshness in the wicket to help their team seize the initiative. New Australian openers Ian Harvey and Jimmy Maher added 33 in less than five overs, but fell in Tuffey's third over.
Harvey smashed a 19-ball 25 before being caught in the covers off Tuffey, while Maher was trapped leg-before for three in the same over. It became 34-3 in the next over as Damien Martyn edged a Mills delivery and was caught behind for no score. The fast bowler then had Andrew Symonds (18) caught behind to reduce the world champions to 61-4. Vettori struck just when Ponting and Bevan threatened to take the match away from New Zealand, keeping a tidy line and length in his economical 10 overs.
Ponting became Vettori's 100th victim in One-dayers when he stepped out of the crease to try a big shot and was caught in the deep by Craig McMillan. He hit six fours in his 34th half-century. Vettori then removed Michael Clarke, who also fell in a similar manner after contributing just two runs. Bevan kept his end intact till the last over, helping his team cross the 200-mark in Bichel's company.