November 10, 2001

Australia's bowlers now face two days of tough toil

Australia's vaunted bowling attack moves onto centre stage in the first Test with New Zealand at the Gabba over the next two days.

Only 87 minutes of play were possible on another rain-affected day today in Brisbane, and in that time Steve Waugh was able to declare his innings closed at 9/486, leaving New Zealand the immediate job of reaching 287 to avoid the follow on and the prospect of defeat.

But with more rain forecast tomorrow the prospects of enough time being available may ruin the match.

What time was available did see Adam Gilchrist carry on and score his deserved fourth Test century. It was a fine innings, although he must have had a difficult lunch when sitting on 98.

He had survived a run out chance not long into the day, which was delayed by nearly two hours due to the rain, when New Zealand twelth man Lou Vincent narrowly missed a direct hit at the batsman's end when Brett Lee hit the ball behind point and called the single.

It was Lee who was first man out on the day for 61, having added only one more run to his overnight total. He was given out caught by wicket-keeper Adam Parore from Cairns' bowling, although the replays suggested he hadn't hit the ball.

Jason Gillespie proved the right man to support Gilchrist as he built toward his century, and he contributed mightily with some lusty blows of his own, especially after Gilchrist had reached his century.

That came in the first over after lunch when he cut the ball behind point and ran two. It came after 143 balls and included 14 fours and a six.

With as many quick runs as possible before the declaration, the pair hit out finishing on 49 runs in 43 minutes before Gilchrist skied a shot to deep mid-on where a diving Vincent held a good catch to give Cairns his fifth wicket, his 11th time in Test matches.

It was a tough return to Test cricket for Cairns. Playing his first match since Zimbabwe in September, he bowled 37 overs for his five for 146. He has never bowled more overs in an innings and he has never conceded more runs.

He had bowled 36 overs twice, at Brisbane in the 1993/94 Test series, and at Bulawayo against Pakistan in 1997/98.

In the last Test match he played, at Harare against Zimbabwe last year, he bowled 33 overs.

Clearly he still remains a formidable force in the New Zealand bowling armoury.

The New Zealand openers came into the match under pressure, after some poor performances in the lead-up matches. However, when rain ended the day's play they had seen the score through to 0/29 with Richardson on 10 not out and Bell on six not out.