Nagpur, Feb 25: New Zealand barely recovered from a collapse to post a total of 206 all out in 45.1 overs.The Australia pace battery wreaked havoc on the New Zealand top and middle order, reducing the Kiwis to 73/6 in 17 overs. Then Nathan McCullum (52) staged a recovery first with Jamie How (22) and then with Daniel Vettori (44), before the tail caved in. Mitchell Johnson took 4/33 and Shaun Tait gave him able support with 3/35.
The New Zealand innings began in positive fashion with Brendon McCullum hitting the first four of the innings off Shaun Tait in the second over. When Tait returned in the fourth over, he again went after him, striking him for two fours, but then upper-cut him straight into the palms of third man. McCullum was out for 16 off 12 balls and the Kiwis were 20/1 in 3.4 overs.
Then Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill tried to keep the momentum going, with fours coming off the 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th overs. But in the 9th over itself, Watson bowled Guptill for 10 off 25 and New Zealand were 40/2. But Ryder wouldn't back down. He flayed Mitchell Johnson for two consecutive fours in the 10th over and subjected him to the same treatment in the 12th over as the Kiwis moved past 50.
But Johnson came back in the 14th over to effect a double strike, first getting Ryder caught behind for 25 off 31 balls and then three balls later, dismissing James Franklin for a duck in similar fashion. Australia were in trouble at 66/4. But Tait only compounded New Zealand's woes when he removed Scott Styris for a duck in the 15th over and then cleaned up Ross Taylor for 7 in the 17th over to reduce the Kiwis to a dismal 73/6.
Then Jamie How and Nathan McCullum tried to salvage the innings. They took their side to 100 in 25 overs and pressed on. Bu at the end of the 29th over, leg-spinner Steven Smith trapped How in front for 22 off 47 balls. New Zealand's tail was exposed at 121/7, as captain Daniel Vettori walked out to the middle.
McCullum and Vettori took New Zealand past 150 in the 37th over without too many problems. They began to play the spin of Smith and Jason Krejza quite comfortably. But when the pace of Johnson returned, there was trouble again with the bowler trapping McCullum in front for 52 off 76 balls. New Zealand were 177/8 at the point.
But then Vettori upped the ante, striking Smith for two consecutive fours in the 43rd over, before knocking boundaries off Johnson and Lee. But in the 45th over, Lee had Vettori caught behind just as the Kiwis had crossed 200. Johnson picked up his fourth wicket when he had Tim Southee caught by Ricky Ponting. New Zealand were all out for 206 in 45.1 overs.