Australia bundled out for 214 runs in Gabba

Published: Thursday, November 20, 2008, 14:36 [IST]
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Gabba: Australia's imminent decline as a cricketing superpower was at display yet again, this time, in their own den- The Gabba, against an unheralded New Zealand side. While their players may be quick to refute any talks of a shift in balance of power, their actions on the field continue to betray their words.

Barring the gritty Aussie vice captain, who battled his way 98 as he valiantly ventured to offer a semblance of respectability to the Australian total, none of the other batsmen had any answers to the questions posed by the youthful Kiwi attack.

Clarke"s efforts, aided by his fighting 31 run partnership for the last wicket with Stuart Clark, helped Australia to post 214 runs in their first innings on Day 1 of the first Test against New Zealand here on Thursday.

Clarke, who"s 98 came off 217 balls, missed out on a well deserved ton by a whisker, when he failed to get to the line of the ball and had his stumps uprooted. He hit 9 fours before becoming Ryder"s second victim.

For the Kiwis, teenager Tim Southee was the pick of the bowlers, ending with figures of 4/63. O"Brien and Ryder chipped in with a couple of wickets each while Martin and captain Daniel Vettori too had solitary successes.

At tea, against their Trans-Tasmanian rivals, the world champions had been reeling at 152/ 7, undone by teenager Southee and OBrien in the opening two seesions.

Given the new ball after the Aussies were put in to bat by Vettori, Southee removed Aussie top three cheaply in a new-ball spell that featured impressive swing and some smart thinking.

After picking up the left-hand openers Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich with classic off-cutters, he extended Australian captain Ricky Ponting"s miserable year, having him caught at the second slip off a leading edge, foxing him with some late away movement, for just 4 runs.

Hayden made 8 runs, while Katich managed 10 as Australia slumped to 32/3 inside the first hour of play, finding their plans to ease back into Test cricket in friendly, familiar conditions following their tough tour of India ruined.

It needed a 73-run stand between Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke that had steadied Australia following the early strikes from Southee, but just as the ship seemed to have been steadied, Martin trapped Hussey LBW for 35 runs in the post-lunch session to reopen the floodgates.

On a comeback trail, Andrew Symonds hit lusty blows to signal his rearrival in the international arena, but very uncharacteristically, flattered to deceive. Symmo was caught behind McCullam of O"Brien for a fluent 26. Watson (1), Haddin (6), Lee (4) and Johnson (5) followed soon, devoured by O"Brien, Ryder, Southee and Vettori respectively, leaving it to Clarke to wage a lonely battle in the company of number 11, Stuart Clark.

In reply, New Zealand openers AJ Redmond and J How negotiated 5 overs safely before bad light forced an early closure of play. Kiwis were 7 without any loss.

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