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Friday, November 28, 2008

New Zealand throw game away after lunch: Second Test Day 1

New Zealand 6/262 (A Redmond 83, R Taylor 44) v Australia at Adelaide.

New Zealand won the toss and sensibly chose to bat. They negotiated the first session well, perhaps surprisingly well, against an Australian pace attack which didn't really threaten despite cool, cloudy conditions which looked conducive to swing and a hapless spinner, Nathan Hauritz, who looked out of his depth as he conceded 29 from 3 overs (17 from the first).

1/101 at lunch was as good a platform as the Black Caps could have expected, but they then proceeded to dismantle it. Ricky Ponting kept Hauritz on, which looked, as Sir Humphrrey Appleby might have said, a courageous decision. But the fourth ball after the interval pitched a little short and Jesse Ryder swatted it hard to Michael Clarke at midwicket. 2/101.

Aaron Redmond had started slowly against the quicks yet warmed to Hauritz before lunch and tried to continue in the same vein afterwards. But Ponting had plugged the gap at deep midwicket and when Redmond tried to hit Hauritz there again Andrew Symonds took an excellent running and leaping catch leaving NZ wobbly at 3/130. 83/125b/14x4, 2x6 was an impressive knock but when Redmond seemed to have the measure of the Australian attack it seemed if not a failure then mildly disappointing.

Peter Fulton and Ross Taylor did something to restore the equilibrium by adding 64 before Fulton pulled a short ball from Symonds to mid micket. 4/194, then 5/200 as Taylor, who'd looked fairly composed and played some fluent shots, was adjudged lbw to Stuart Clark.

Brett Lee, who'd looked a bit lacklustre earlier, turned on an impressive spell with the old ball. He bowled Daniel Flynn for 11, leaving the Black Caps a well below par 6/228. As the sun came out for the last few overs with the old and the first few with the new ball Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori held out until stumps.

Australia are on top and I can't see any reason why they won't be able to proceed steadily (or perhaps even swiftly) to a victory from this point.

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