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Friday, November 21, 2008

16 wicket day as batting of both sides crumbles: First Test Day 2

Australia 214 and 6/131 lead New Zealand 156 (R Taylor 40, M Johnson 4/30) by 189 runs with 4 second innings wickets in hand : Second Test Day 2 at Brisbane

Stuart Clark bowled the first ball of the day to Aaron Redmond, who snicked it to Ricky Ponting at slip. New Zealand 1/7. Then Jamie How and Jesse Ryder added 37 before Brett Lee bowled How for 14. 2/44.

There followed a steady procession as the last 8 wickets added 112. The Australian bowling was tight and, as the scorecard suggests, more than enough to see most of the NZ batsmen off. Only Ross Taylor 40/51b/7x4 and Daniel Flynn 39no/ 80b/7x4 held out for long.

Chris Martin bowled the first ball of Australia's second innings: it moved just far enough to get the
edge of Matthew Hayden's bat and go through to the keeper. There followed a repeat of the first innings with Simon Katich on this occasion replacing Michael Clarke as the sheet anchor. Only Mike Hussey was unlucky to be given out caught behind when replays showed the ball brushing his pad and missing his bat. The other dismissals, including Michael Clarke's run out, were relatively soft, though the NZ attack bowled steadily and was well supported in the field.

Katich, now 67/117b/9x4 is probably the crucial player for the third day, when the match will, weather permitting, almost certainly be decided. Although Australia have underperformed with the bat it is hard to see New Zealand scoring more than 220 runs in the fourth innings. If they are to do so some of these four players will need to make significant contributions: Brendan McCullum, Ross Taylor, Daniel Flynn and Daniel Vettori (who must promote himself at least one place in the order).

NZ's other enemy is an internal one: do they have the self-belief necessary to chase down a total which on paper should be well within their grasp?


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