Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day November 28, 2008

Costly mistakes loosen New Zealand's grip

New Zealand 6 for 262 (Redmond 83) v Australia
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


The opener Aaron Redmond mixed attack and defence to top score for New Zealand with an eventful 83 © AFP
 

A large opening total in Adelaide is essential to remain in the contest, but New Zealand's top and middle orders wasted their opportunity with a rash of loose shots on the way to 6 for 262 at stumps. Aaron Redmond's two-paced 83 gave the tourists a strong base in between bouts of thoughtlessness that prevented them from staging the type of start needed to frighten Australia, who lead the two-game series 1-0.

The bowlers were steady with occasional bright patches, but all that was required was to wait for mistakes from a line-up that switched from defensive to casual and reckless. Redmond found the correct mix in his career-best score until he lost his mind briefly by slogging to deep midwicket and Jamie How, Jesse Ryder and Peter Fulton experienced similar lapses.

Life was satisfying for New Zealand at lunch when they were 1 for 101, but two wickets fell within half an hour of the interval and Fulton (29) pulled the medium pace of Andrew Symonds to Simon Katich before tea to un-do his 64-run recovery with Ross Taylor. Brendon McCullum, who was 30 not out, and Daniel Vettori (12) negotiated a difficult last hour, but by then the side had already lost too many specialists.

All of the top eight reached double figures, with only Redmond passing fifty. Don't expect Australia to be so generous when it is their turn. On this pitch first-up scores of 400 are considered small and the surface offered few problems with movement despite encouraging clouds in the morning. Each time New Zealand, who will move to eighth on the ICC rankings with a loss, threatened to escape they slipped back with an error.

The offspinner Nathan Hauritz benefitted twice from the risky shot selection in the same way Jason Krejza did in Nagpur. Redmond, who was defensive for much of the first session, changed faces when Hauritz arrived before lunch and by the end of the offspinner's first over had rushed to a half-century with a cut for four and two slog-swept sixes to the short square boundary.

Hauritz's surprise return to Test action - he was not included in New South Wales' match last week - meant he started the day as the luckiest cricketer in the country, but that view was changing as he went for 29 in his first three. As quickly as he seemed to be heading out of the attack, Hauritz's fortunes swung again when Ryder, on 13, decided to swipe him to a diving Michael Clarke at midwicket in the over after lunch.

Ricky Ponting kept Hauritz, who was in his first Test in four years, operating and another gift arrived when Redmond tried for a third six and found Symonds running around just inside the boundary at deep midwicket. Redmond was shocked to have faltered so badly and almost froze as Symonds found the ball. When Redmond wasn't defending he was usually looking to slash or push through cover and point, where 11 of his boundaries came, and it was a more effective approach.

New Zealand could have been in a worse position if Matthew Hayden, playing his 100th Test, collected a sharp take to his right when Fulton edged an attempted drive at Hauritz on 9, or if Brett Lee had not over-stepped when Taylor was caught at cover by Symonds when 5. Taylor was in fine touch on the way to 44 before he was unlucky to be lbw to Stuart Clark with the ball expected to head well over the stumps.

The Australians, having learned from India, were able to find reverse-swing after tea and Lee was the main beneficiary when he bowled Daniel Flynn for 11. Taking the ball away from the left-hander early in the over, Lee moved one back sharply and the ball brushed Flynn's pad before hitting the stumps.

Lee was one of four bowlers to take a wicket while Hauritz, whose opening came when Krejza hurt his ankle at training this week, had figures of 2 for 63 from 13 overs in an admirable recovery. However, his eventful day continued when he turned his left ankle while fielding at fine leg and he did not bowl after tea.

Mitchell Johnson collected the only breakthrough of the first session when he won a battle of patience with How (16). How fell to a poor misjudgment when he drove wildly at another wide ball from Johnson, who watched the edge go to the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. His team-mates did not learn the lesson.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo