Australia v New Zealand, 2nd ODI, Sydney December 8, 2004

Aussies hold nerve for 17-run win

Australia 7 for 261 (Gilchrist 60, Lehmann 52) beat New Zealand 244 (Cairns 50, Mills 44*, Hogg 3-45) by 17 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Chris Cairns rallied New Zealand with a rousing half-century from 40 balls © Getty Images
Australia narrowly survived hurricanes from Chris Cairns and Kyle Mills and another terrible middle-order collapse to draw level in the Chappell-Hadlee Series at Sydney. Knowing New Zealand could steal the series before the final match at Brisbane on Friday, Australia produced a stronger defence than at the Telstra Dome, but were again stung by late resistance.

New Zealand required the highest score in a run-chase for a one-day international at the SCG and were in reasonable shape until Brad Hogg claimed the important breakthroughs of Stephen Fleming and Jacob Oram as their middle-order folded. A bright partnership between Cairns and Brendon McCullum, who fell leg-before despite a thick edge, lifted their spirits and they rose higher as Mills hit out. But their brave challenge ended 17 runs short when Glenn McGrath bowled the injured Chris Harris.

Arriving in desperate danger at 5 for 84, Cairns launched a stinging counter-attack that included two huge sixes off Hogg and Darren Lehmann. As long as Cairns stayed his side was a chance of winning. He raised his half-century from 39 balls, but departed immediately after to a skied catch to McGrath and victory was being celebrated in the 35th over (7 for 154).

Harris, who dislocated his right shoulder and tore a rotator cuff while fielding in his 250th one-day international, was sitting in the dressing-room with his arm in a sling and the danger seemed to have passed. Mills had his own ideas and walloped four sixes to cut the target down to a run-a-ball with six overs remaining. Harris wandered out with his runner Hamish Marshall and Australia sweated for nine more balls.

Gilchrist illuminated the early proceedings with a 48-ball 60 © Getty Images
It was an amazing match for power hitting, with Mills's 44 from 26 pushing Cairns's knock to the third most exciting of the day. Adam Gilchrist had set off another fireworks exhibition after making 68 under the Telstra Dome roof and deposited short balls to the point and square-leg boundaries. Gilchrist really exploded in a three-over onslaught of eight fours and one six as the Kiwi bowlers went for 14, 19 and 11 in successive overs; Matthew Hayden contributed a single in that time.

Cairns was called to stop the flood of runs, but Gilchrist treated him the same way as Mills and Oram, blasting his fourth ball for six over square leg to bring up a 37-ball half-century. Like any good fireworks display, Gilchrist's innings of 60 from 47 deliveries was over while a sparse crowd still wanted more.

Australia were desperate for an extra boost after 26 overs when they had lost 4 for 8 to be 5 for 148, giving up a spectacular beginning in eerily similar fashion to Melbourne. Mills, returning from an early thrashing, picked up Ricky Ponting with a slower ball, and trapped Damien Martyn leg-before, while Daniel Vettori, who ended with 1 for 36 off 10 controlled overs, dismissed Andrew Symonds for his second consecutive duck.

Again Australia looked like reaching 300 comfortably, and again Lehmann began the rebuilding process. His 74-run partnership with Brad Hogg, whose valuable support collected 41, gave the innings a second wind and he finished with his second one-day half-century in a row.

Having watched their opponents waste a strong position, New Zealand then copied them. Fleming won an entertaining early battle with Brett Lee but attacked Hogg's first delivery and was given out by the umpire Peter Parker when hit on the front pad (4 for 78).

Mathew Sinclair and Fleming appeared settled before New Zealand lost two wickets in as many overs. Jason Gillespie tempted an edge from Sinclair with a short ball and Hayden took a sharp catch to his left at first slip, while Scott Styris was lbw to the medium-pace of Symonds, although he appeared to get an inside edge (3 for 68). Hogg then turned things further Australia's way to finish with three wickets and the Man-of-the-Match award.

Peter English is editor of Cricinfo in Australia.