April 1, 2000

Australia follows the New Zealand pattern with highs and lows

Australia came out of a day in which 306 runs were scored and 12 wickets fell maintaining the advantage they established in the first session of the first day - but only after seeing their first innings follow a disturbingly similar pattern to New Zealand's.

A top-order collapse, two mid-order partnerships and little from the lower order saw the Australian first innings close with just a 20-run advantage. In the process, Damien Martyn with an undefeated 89 and the New Zealand left-armer, Shayne O'Connor (five for 51), returned their best test performances.

Australia opened the second day under a clear Hamilton sky at 4 for 1. In the fifth over of the morning, the left-armer Shayne O'Connor extracted legbefore decisions from Umpire Jayapakash against first an uncomfortable Slater for 2 and then Warne for 10 with identical deliveries, pitching centre and moving off the wicket.

At the other end, Cairns was not about to be left out of the action. In the next over, he got through Langer's defence, the hint of an inside edge assisting the ball into the stumps.

Langer's departure for 4 with the score at 25 brought the Waugh brothers together to deal with the lift and movement the New Zealand bowlers were generating. Steve Waugh failed to. With the score on 29 and his own total 3, he got an edge to Cairns, Stephen Fleming taking a good catch low down at first slip, his 84th in tests.

Damien Martyn joined Mark Waugh and had an early life, getting just enough on a ball from Cairns to shave the stumps and go away to the fine leg boundary. Daryl Tuffey's first ball in Test cricket took the edge of Mark Waugh's bat and fell short of second slip.

Waugh and Martyn continued the resurrection job bringing the 50 up in the 19th over. O'Connor resumed in place of Cairns at the grandstand end in the 18th over of the morning but at the other end Tuffey was learning the requirements of test cricket; too full and Martyn straight drove, too wide and he cut past gully. Thirteen came from the debutante's fifth over and his five-over spell went for 36.

O'Connor was given the same message. Too full and he was driven, too short and he was pulled, too short and he was cut. The second over of his spell went for 18 as the 100 came up in 115 minutes.

Nathan Astle with his medium pace took over from Tuffey in the 21st over of the morning with Paul Wiseman's off spin introduced from the grandstand completing a double change. The change of pace made an almost immediate impression. Waugh, on 28, played across Wiseman, the ball popped up high and Mathew Sinclair under the helmet at short leg took the catch. The partnership with Martyn had contributed 74 to a total of 104.

Adam Gilchrist was not about to be tied down, lustily straight driving both bowlers back over their heads. Australia went to lunch at 118 for 6, adding 114 runs in the morning session for the loss of five wickets.

After lunch, Cairns immediately getting Gilchrist swinging at a short one, catching the edge and going high over Adam Parore behind the stumps to the boundary. At the other end, O'Connor was giving nothing away, at times finding Umpire Jayaprakash less accommodating towards his leg-before appeals than he had been in the morning session.

Martyn brought up his 50 in 110 minutes, 40 them from boundaries. The 150 came up in the 41st over of the innings, similarly the 50 partnership in 49 minutes.

Tuffey replaced Cairns in the 39th over of the day and was immediately put to the sword, Gilchrist bringing up his 50 in 61 minutes, like Martyn with 10 fours, as 15 came from the over.

Fleming turned for relief to spin at the city end, replacing O'Connor with Wiseman. They could not halt the Australian charge, the 200 coming up in the 45th over of the innings, the last 50 in six overs. The Australian pair produced their 100 partnership in 73 minutes off 119 balls.

The drinks break brought its usual lapse in concentration - this time on both sides. With no addition to his score, Martyn stepped out of his ground to Wiseman and missed - and so did Parore. At the other end, Tuffey was finding his debut turning into a nightmare, Gilchrist driving him with relish as a further 14 came off his first over after the break.

However, Wiseman ensured that Gilchrist went no further, in the fourth over after drinks inducing him to sweep for Matthew Horne to take a good catch coming in from the boundary forward of square leg. Gilchrist's rollicking 75 had come off 80 balls in 92 minutes with 16 fours and contributed to a 119- run partnership with Martyn.

Brett Lee was Martyn's new partner and almost immediately had a life as Parore failed to pick up an edge off Wiseman. His arrival also coincided with the replacement of the luckless Tuffey with Cairns, resulting in a short stay for the Australian speedster. On 8 with the score having just passed the New Zealand total, he cut Cairns directly to Craig McMillan in the gully.

Glenn McGrath, promoted from number 11, joined Martyn on 79 and fast running out of partners. The pace bowler's resistance was solid for 20 minutes as Martyn inched his way towards his century. However, in the 55th over of the day, Fleming replaced Wiseman with O'Connor at the city end and had immediate success, cleaning out the tailender.

Colin Miller joined Martyn, still 13 short of his first century, with the score at 248. The new arrival got off to a shaky start, Martyn turning down the opportunity of a single at the end of the over and Miller virtually running two on his own as the return went to the wrong end.

However, the reprieve was short, Miller taking a couple of big swings, surviving one only to be caught from the next by Tuffey at mid-wicket off O'Connor, leaving Martyn stranded on 89, albeit with some consolation that he had passed his previous highest Test score of 78.

O'Connor finished with his best figures in Test cricket, five for 51, while Cairns ended with three for 80.

The increasingly well-established firm of McGrath and Lee opened the Australian attack after tea with New Zealand facing a 20-run deficit on the first innings. Craig Spearman and Matthew Horne, in ideal batting conditions, did the cause no good at all. They attempted a quick single in the third over, Horne failing to beat the direct throw from Miller in the covers and being given the red light without troubling the scorers.

Mathew Sinclair joined Spearman with the deficit still 17. The lively batting of the afternoon session was replaced by watchful application; bowlers trying to tempt outside off, batsmen not biting.

However, Waugh kept ringing the bowling changes in the final session, and they worked. After giving Lee four overs from the grandstand end, he reintroduced Miller, this time in off-spin mode. In his second over he brought Sinclair's stay to an end, leg before for 24 with the total at 49.

Stephen Fleming joined Spearman and the pair brought up the 50 in the next over, coming from 139 balls. But the New Zealand captain was not around to see any more landmarks, given out by Umpire Jayaprakash caught behind down the leg side as Miller picked up his second wicket of the innings.

With Fleming gone for 2 and the score on 53, Nathan Astle became Spearman's next partner, the immediate task being to survive the eight overs left before stumps. This they duly did, New Zealand ending the day on 58 for three, Spearman 29 and Astle 2.

Miller took the two wickets that fell, leaving New Zealand with a 38-run advantage and seven wickets in hand going into the last day.