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Friday, December 02, 2011

NZ persistence keeps T1 alive despite Australia Ponting regroup

Ausralia 3/154 (46 ov, Ponting 67*) trail New Zealand 295 (82.5 ov, Nettori 96. Brownlie 77*, Lyon 4/69) by 141 runs with 7 first innings wkts in hand T1/2, D2/5 ar the 'Gabba, Brisbane.

Ricky Ponting's aggressively watchful (no oxymoron intended) 67*/123b  (11x4) was IMO  the best innnings of the day, but he'll need to bat on tomorrow, and get some support from his teammates, to convert it, or the team's total, into a matchwinning one.

 Daniel Vettori is no serious cricket follower's idea of a stylist - with the bat that is - but his grittily determined 96/127b (9x4), mostly made in a 158 6th wicket partnership with Dean Brownlie, brought NZ back more into the game, if not to a position of dominance at least much more competitive (and face saving than D1's 5/95. ) Brownlie built his  77*/173b (8x4) more slowly but his supoort of Vettori kept the total moving up. The lower order, a few Tim Southee biffs excepted, didn't add  many as Nathan Lyon exposed their deificencies (and took the bonus wicket of Chris Martin)   but 295 was not a bad score

Neither David Warner nor Phil Hughes lasted long, but Usman Khawaja looked good before he was run out immediately after tea for 38/77b (3x4).. 3/91 wasn't in the Australian script. Ponting and Michael Clarke needed to regroup, which they did, despite a couiple of close calls asgainst the Kiiwi trundlers- Clarke bowled off a Doug Bracewell no ball and Ponting in a close lbw appeal. Neither decision was, according to the current rules which allow for a combination of umpire's call and video replays (in the event of conflict the former taking precedence over the latter), wrong but together they probalby took some of the wind out of the NZ sails.

New Zealand are still in the game, indeed on paper in the stronger position.But if Ponting and Clarke can add another 70 or so tomorrow (which is far from improbable) Australia will be back with a chance...of a victory


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