November 25, 2001

Waugh and Fleming each have their own goals tomorrow

Two winners are in prospect on the last day of play in the second rain-affected Australia-New Zealand Test in Hobart tomorrow.

The most obvious are Australia if they are able to get the 105 overs scheduled as every effort is made to catch up some of the time lost earlier in the Test.

Theirs is the most demanding task, especially after New Zealand recovered their first innings during the fourth day today to end on 4/197 when rain stopped play for the third time on the day.

Stephen Fleming led from the front in a determined effort to firstly, blunt the Australian attack, and then secondly, to get New Zealand to the security of the follow on target of 359.

He does bear some responsibility for achieving that as it was his call with the coin on day one that meant New Zealand faced such a demanding task in trying to break the Australian batting after they were put in.

But the Australians need to claim 16 more wickets within those 105 overs if New Zealand cannot reach the follow on.

Central to New Zealand's hopes will be Fleming who, on 71 overnight, has the chance to rid himself of the bogey of not having scored a Test century since New Zealand toured Sri Lanka five summers ago.

He is also the holder of the worst conversion rate of 50s into centuries among all players to have scored more than 2000 runs in Tests. Today's half century, a diligent effort scored in 179 minutes off 135 balls, was his 32nd.

He played through some difficult times as Shane Warne probed relentlessly for an opening, but Fleming wasn't in the mood to give him one.

However, there was an assuredness about his play in Hobart that has not always been obvious and if he can get his century, and bat on to see the follow on avoided, he will be the big winner on the day.

Craig McMillan has provided him with admirable company in a stand that is now worth 97 runs. Brett Lee, especially, tested McMillan's resolve with a teasing array of off-side balls that were aimed to getting McMillan to spar and get out in the same manner as occurred in the first innings in Brisbane.

So far McMillan has avoided temptation and his concentration has taken him to his 15th Test half century. He was quick to latch onto anything loose and gained a significant boost in his battle with Lee when cover driving him elegantly for four, and then whipping him through square leg for four off his legs, in the same over.

He was on 51 not out, having achieved his half century with four overthrows, courtesy of a Ricky Ponting attempt to run him out as he attempted a quick single.

The immediate test tomorrow, is to survive the first overs with the new ball in the morning. It is only two overs old and while Jason Gillespie is sure to be one user of it, it is most certain that Glenn McGrath won't have to wait for as long to show his wares as he did today.

Australia's successes on the day were the dismissal of Mark Richardson, unlucky to be given out leg before wicket from an inside edge, for 30 runs, and Nathan Astle, wonderfully caught at slip by Shane Warne from Mark Waugh's bowling for 11.

Lee worked hard, and mustered considerable, and consistent pace, and fired in some testing yorkers but the pick of the bowlers again was Gillespie, who has been the dominant bowler of the series to date, and who looms as the main impediment to New Zealand saving the Test.

News was also received today that Daryl Tuffey will not bowl again if required in the Test as he has a hamstring strain of sufficient concern for New Zealand to fly Auckland seamer Chris Drum to Perth to act as cover for the Third Test.