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March 15, 2000
Shane Warne wrote himself even further into Australian cricket history as the visitors bowled out New Zealand 40 minutes after lunch on the fifth day of the first test at Eden Park to prevail 62 runs. Warne had to wait until the last wicket of the match but when he had Paul Wiseman caught behind he advanced from the 355 he had shared for two days with Dennis Lillee.
Warne's record-breaking effort overshadowed Colin Miller's best figures in test cricket, five for 55, and Craig McMillan's defiant 78 for the home team.
After a day lost to rain and an hour-and-a-half delay on the fifth morning to allow the outfield to recover, New Zealand, on151, set out in search of the 130 runs still needed for victory with McMillan on 57 and Chris Cairns 20. For the Australians, the target was simple: five wickets to maintain their winning streak, at least one of them to Warne.
Runs were never going to be easy to come by. Glenn McGrath bowled the first over of the morning under passing dark clouds and in a cooling southerly, attacking with just two slips, defending with a third man and fine leg and adding to the tension with a maiden.
Miller, with his off-spin, took up the attack from the Dominion Rd end, opened with a slip and a short leg, and didn't need them. Without any addition to the overnight score of 151, Cairns tried to hit the fifth ball of the over beyond mid-wicket and succeeded only in picking out a leaping Steve Waugh. What slim hope had beat in New Zealand breasts disappeared with the departing Cairns.
Adam Parore joined McMillan and immediately found himself under close attention as Waugh bolstered the attack with a leg slip and a short cover to complete the square around the New Zealand wicket-keeper. At the other end in the fifth over, McMillan's first attempt at a forcing shot took the inside edge and fell just short of the glove of a diving Adam Gilchrist.
Parore brought up the first runs off the bat in the sixth over, turning Miller past the short leg. He then celebrated by taking a further 12 off the over with two sixes over midwicket. The sudden avalanche of runs prompted the replacement of Miller with Shane Warne. The expectant hush settled once again over the sparsely populated arena.
The hush did not extend to McMillan as he took nine off the leg-spinner's second over. For McGrath, the New Zealand pair adopted a defensive strategy dominated by judicious leaving.
The pair went to lunch with the score at 183 for six, McMillan on 64 and Parore on 23, reducing the deficit to under 100 in the 15th over of the morning. In an hour-long session that had produced 32 runs, McGrath had conceded just five from his eight overs.
Brett Lee took up the attack after lunch, replacing McGrath. Warne continued at the Dominion Rd end as the steady southerly sent clouds scudding across increasingly clear skies.
McMillan helped himself to a four sweeping Warne through mid-wicket; Parore collected four leg byes courtesy of his arm protector from a Lee bouncer that cleared a leaping Gilchrist. That was Parore's last contribution. In the 19th over of the day, he drove casually into the covers where a diving Steve Waugh accepted the gift. Parore gone for 26 with the score at 195, still 86 behind with three wickets remaining.
Daniel Vettori watched as McMillan took nine off Warne before Lee ended the brave innings, getting the edge of a defending bat for Warne to take the catch at first slip. McMillan contributed 78 to the total at that stage of 204.
Miller took over from Warne but the master spinner was again in the act at first slip before any advance in the score, taking the catch off the edge of Vettori's defensive prod from the sixth ball of Miller's first over in his new spell. The wicket gave the off-spinner his first five-wicket bag in tests.
Paul Wiseman joined Simon Doull for the last partnership of the match, New Zealand still requiring 77. By the application of good management interspersed with the occasional piece of luck, they advanced the score to 218 before the reintroduction of Warne in the 74th over added another landmark to the already illustrious career. Wiseman offered one defiant pull through mid-wicket before succumbing sweeping, the ball ballooning up off glove and arm for Gilchrist to take the catch.
The wicket was not the prettiest with which to celebrate a record ---- the dismissal of Astle behind his legs on the third day to equal the mark was more fitting --- and Warne's two for 80 off 20 overs in the innings and five for 148 in the match suggested he was not as dominant in this contest as expected. But the match will be remembered for one magical figure: 356.
Miller ended the innings with his best test figures, five for 55 off 18 overs, while Lee, two for 36 off 12, and McGrath, one for 31 off 23, completed a bowling effort that, like New Zealand's, fell on just four bowlers throughout the match.
The win took Australia to eight in succession, equalling the country's best and adding extra interest to the Wellington test, the second in the three-match National Bank series, beginning on March 24. It was a test match that started under the cloud of a spinner-friendly pitch and developed into one of the most fascinating contests of recent times.
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