New Zealand 7-293 at stumps on day one at WACA
A defiant captain with everything to win and a plucky debutant with nothing to lose gave New Zealand hope of an unlikely series triumph over Australia in the third cricket Test today.
But the Australian attack then used the new ball to pierce the visitors' ambitions and leave them reeling at 7-293 at stumps on day one at the WACA.
The first day of the third and deciding Test ended in carnage as Australia claimed 5-75 in a fiery final hour.
Debutant Lou Vincent made his maiden Test century and captain Stephen Fleming his first against Australia as New Zealand reached a commanding 2-217 after tea on the first day.
Fleming, who laboured in the nineties for 43 minutes, notched his first ton in three and a half years, before eventually falling LBW to Brett Lee (2-89) for 105.
But the day belonged to Vincent.
The 26-year-old, who gained an Australian flavour to his cricket during a childhood stint in Adelaide, answered his selectors' calls with a defiant century that drew appreciative applause from a WACA crowd.
He was scratchy early against Australian paceman Glenn McGrath (1-25) before settling in to become just the third Kiwi opener to score a ton on debut.
Vincent (104) was finally out, controversially caught by Mark Waugh at slip off Shane Warne (1-66).
Television replays indicated the ball's sharp change of direction was a product of Warne's prodigious spinning ability, not the edge of Vincent's probing blade.
The pair came together with New Zealand in trouble at 2-19 after less than a quarter of an hour had passed.
Almost four hours later, Vincent departed after joining his skipper in a 199 run stand.
But then Australia's quicks, led by Jason Gillespie (3-79) stole the momentum, claiming Fleming, Craig McMillan (4), Daniel Vettori (2) and Chris Cairns (8).