Haddin arrives with 169 as Australia rule
The wicketkeeper Brad Haddin found himself as a Test player and allowed himself to relax during an entertaining 169 that swept the match from New Zealand and confirmed his international future. Haddin, playing his ninth game as Adam Gilchrist's replacement, was the aggressor throughout the day and comfortably outscored the more considered Michael Clarke, who posted 110.
Australia were dismissed for an imposing 535 late on the third day and the total left them as the only side that can win the fixture and the series, which they lead 1-0. At stumps the visitors, who started with a deficit of 265, were 0 for 35 from nine overs.
Arriving with Australia at 5 for 247 after two wickets in the third over of the morning, Haddin gave Clarke a start of 48 but reached three figures two overs after the vice-captain registered his third century in consecutive matches at the ground. Haddin continued to score freely after Clarke departed and showed, finally, that he is a long-term prospect.
As the breakthrough innings wound down Haddin maintained his tempo, striking two sixes off the legspin of Aaron Redmond, and finished with 24 fours during his 222-ball occupation. On a day of firsts - he did not own a Test half-century when he walked out - he brought up his 150 with a sweep from out of the rough and was charging in the manner of his predecessor. When he was ninth-out, having been caught by Peter Fulton on the midwicket boundary, the spectators rose to applaud their new hero.
Clarke kissed his helmet after hesitating over the single that earned his 10th Test hundred, but his celebration was nothing compared to Haddin's when he raised three figures. He swung his arms and lifted them high towards the dressing room and the players who understood his battles of the past two months.
Haddin, a new father, struggled during the tour of India and had plenty of moments of danger in Adelaide, but survived to unleash some fabulous boundaries along with a few streaky ones. The innings was addictive from the moment he arrived with a tentative fend, a skewed drive and a caught-behind appeal that convinced the New Zealanders but not the umpire.
He gets so nervous before batting that at times he verges on being physically sick, and it was not until the lead-up to lunch that Haddin started to look secure. By then he had already reached fifty. After the break Daniel Flynn missed a simple chance at mid-on - it just brushed his right thumb before hitting his chest on the way to the ground - when Haddin was on 72. Soon Haddin was exploding through the nineties in eight deliveries.
Clarke's hundred came from the first ball of Ryder's over, then Haddin square-drove a boundary, thumped one straight and lifted another over mid-off to leap to 97 before the bowler had finished. When Tim Southee's offering on Haddin's pads was clipped in front of square it sealed the milestone and his position in the side. The risk-for-reward approach had been successful.
More fortune arrived on 102 when he brushed a close-in catch to short leg off Daniel Vettori but was given not out. Vettori had been lifted for four clever leg-side boundaries by Haddin, and had employed a defensive over-the-wicket line for much of the day. He also added to his team's problems by dropping a caught-and-bowled off Brett Lee ten minutes before tea.
Lee (19) punished Vettori after the interval before the first slip Ross Taylor took a leaping one-handed catch off Iain O'Brien, who had - bravely or stupidly - peppered Lee with short ones. Vettori started the day with a limp but did not let it affect him and operated for 30 overs straight before lunch till after tea.
In 59.4 overs in the innings Vettori had only the wickets of Simon Katich and the No. 10 Nathan Hauritz next to 124 runs. Sometimes the game isn't fair. Redmond captured two victims, the same number as Chris Martin, while O'Brien was the most successful with 3 for 111.
Clarke was a comforting influence on Haddin, whose batting can flap on the border between aggressive and irresponsible, and they added 181 runs for the sixth wicket. The No. 5 Clarke was much more controlled as he struggled for fluency at times and excelled at others.
Clarke's hundred arrived from his 218th delivery, showing his patience, and he was more content clipping the ball around than trying to mirror the attack of his New South Wales team-mate. The innings was important for the team and also made up for his near-miss in the first Test in Brisbane when he was bowled by Jesse Ryder for 98. Ryder was involved in Clarke's dismissal again when he flayed a drive to him in the gully off O'Brien.
Australia started the day at 3 for 241 and New Zealand experienced some false hope when Martin removed Michael Hussey on 70 to a misguided pull and then benefitted from a caught-behind decision against Andrew Symonds. Haddin and Clarke quickly shut down the brief revival.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo