Hussey dominant as Aussies post 336 against NZ

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Auckland:Stand-in captain Mike Hussey produced a morale-boosting century to give Australia a golden opportunity to level the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy cricket series against New Zealand here.

Hussey's 105, backed by an unbeaten 97 from Brad Hodge, guided Australia to 336 for four in their 50 overs on Sunday.

After a 10-wicket thrashing by New Zealand in the first game of a series being used by both teams to fine-tune their games for next month's World Cup, Hussey's makeshift squad needed to regain their confidence.

Again he lost the toss, but being sent into bat on a fine, hot day was of no consequence as openers Matthew Hayden and Phil Jaques plundered 17 off the opening over from Daryl Tuffey.

New Zealand pegged the run rate back to around four an over after 20 before Australia made them pay the price for replacing injured allrounder Jacob Oram with a specialist batsman in Peter Fulton.

It was a selection gamble that forced New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming to share the fifth bowling option among part-timers Scott Styris, Craig McMillan and Lou Vincent. Between them, the three gave up 102 runs from 11 overs.

McMillan was the only one to take a wicket when -- for the second game in a row -- he dismissed Hussey, this time to a phenomenal catch by Ross Taylor who took the ball just inches off the ground running in from long on.

Hussey's 105 came from just 84 balls and included eight fours and six sixes.

Hodge, who led the charge at the end when Australia scored 111 runs off the final 10 overs, posted his 97 from 86 balls and 12 boundaries.

Shane Bond was again the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, starting with two maidens before having Jaques caught at first slip by Fleming for three.

He could also have had Brad Hadding first ball had Fleming held a tough chance.

Bond finished with one for 39, although 18 of the runs came from his ninth and last over near the end of the innings.

Australia, who must win this match and Tuesday's third game in the series to retain the world number one ranking, have added extra firepower to their line up with Shaun Tait coming in at the expense of Mitchell Johnson.


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