New Zealand v Australia, Rose Bowl, 3rd ODI, Hamilton February 6, 2009

Australian openers set up huge win

Cricinfo staff

Australia 258 for 6 (Nitschke 73, Blackwell 59, Browne 2-51 ) beat New Zealand 154 (Mason 34, Bates 33, Osborne 3-32, Sthalekar 3-16) by 104 runs

A record opening stand and a fine display by their spinners helped Australia record a must-win triumph over New Zealand in the third match of the Rose Bowl series in Hamilton. With Australia trailing 2-0 in the five-match series, the openers Alex Blackwell and Shelley Nitschke put on a record 148 for the first wicket to set up the foundation for a total of 8 for 258, and New Zealand collapsed to 154 to hand the visitors a comprehensive 104-run win.

Asked to bat, Australia got off to the ideal start with Blackwell and Nitschke scoring half-centuries. However, Blackwell was dismissed for 59 in the 27th over, and Nitschke fell for 73 an over later when she was caught by Katey Martin off Lucy Doolan. Barring a 57-run fourth-wicket stand of 58 between Lisa Sthalekar and Lauren Ebsary, there was little resistance from the middle and lower orders. Australia eventually struggled to 258 for 6 - after their openers had scored close to six-an-over - with fast bowler Nicola Browne taking 2 for 51.

However, in the end, that target proved daunting. New Zealand's reply was poor. Australia's offspinners Erin Osborne and Sthalekar took three wickets each, and New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for 29 after their top-order failed to consolidate on starts. Aimee Mason, Suzie Bates and captain Haidee Tiffen were all dismissed after scoring 30's, and the middle order then succumbed to spin in pursuit of Australia's challenging 258.

A resounding win after two closely fought defeats will provide Australia the confidence they badly needed in order to keep the series alive.