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February 8, 2009
Brad Haddin enjoyed the freedom of opening while Grant Elliott showed his emerging class as they raised their maiden one-day centuries in Sydney on Sunday. Haddin was opening in the Australian side for only the fifth time when he replaced David Warner at the top and responded with a Man-of-the-Match performance of 109 from 114 balls.
"Obviously if he keeps doing that he can bat there as long as he likes," Ricky Ponting said. "That was exactly what we were after."
Australia have had serious batting problems this season, but Haddin and Michael Clarke put them in charge with a 135-run opening partnership that gave the side a familiar look. Haddin was out in the 38th over, having struck eight fours and three sixes, and the team went on to post a formidable 9 for 301.
"It's always enjoyable to get a hundred, but it was pretty special to have your family there after driving up from Queanbeyan [near Canberra]," Haddin said. "It was great just to go out and play with a little bit of freedom at the top of the order and things went our way. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going into Adelaide."
New Zealand made a brave chase thanks to Elliott's 115, but their hopes of an upset ended when he departed after a stand of 69 with Brendon McCullum. Elliott, who picked up 61 not out in Melbourne on Friday, impressed his captain Daniel Vettori.
"We saw some strength from him, which is a part of his game we haven't seen a lot of," Vettori said. "He's played 15 games now and he hasn't let us down any time he's gone out to bat. He's probably unfashionable to a lot of people because he's a traditional-style player and you don't always get those in one-day cricket. He really understands his game and showed today how good he is."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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