Third Test Match

Australia v New Zealand

Toss: Australia.

New Zealand intensified their enterprising approach, this time challenging Australia to a game of risk and reward on the final day, when the rain-affected match appeared doomed to a dull draw. While they lacked the talent to fulfil their competitive instincts, this readiness to gamble won the respect of the Australian team and the admiration of the public. Set 288 to win in two sessions, New Zealand fell 65 short but, to their credit, held out for an exciting draw. Taylor had delayed his declaration until lunch on the final day, an uncustomarily defensive attitude; ultimately, two sessions were not enough for Warne, without McGrath, to force a win.

As in Perth, the cricket was overshadowed by off-field events; on the last day, Australia's Test captain and former vice-captain, Taylor and Healy, were dropped from the limited-overs squad to play New Zealand and South Africa. Hobart's enthusiasm for its biennial Test match was betrayed by its Antarctic weather. Four sessions were lost from the first three days and, with a sluggish pitch holding up both bowlers and batsmen, a draw appeared certain late on the fourth day, when New Zealand were 251 for six - thanks to a quality maiden Test century by Horne - but still 149 behind Australia's 400. Saying "you have to lose one to win one", Fleming called in his batsmen. "We came with the attitude of playing positive cricket," he said after play, "and the fact that our performances in the middle haven't matched that hasn't changed the philosophy."

Taylor responded by bringing out Australia's premier one-day batsman, Mark Waugh, as his opening partner. But after Waugh was out on the morning, Taylor and later Steve Waugh seemed gripped by fear. Only a sparkling half-century by Blewett gave Taylor enough runs to declare at lunch on 138 for two. New Zealand's one-day record was superior to their Test record, and they chased their target with a freedom they usually lacked. Astle, who in 13 previous tour innings had not passed 22, eclipsed that in 11 balls as he tore into the seamers. Horne repeated his success and helped Astle put on 72 from 52 balls before he was trapped by Reiffel, setting in train a familiar collapse.

When Cairns, promoted to No. 3, Astle and Fleming fell in the space of two runs, New Zealand relinquished their hopes of winning. McMillan and Parore then began to dig in. Both batsmen fell to Warne for 41, however: McMillan to a questionable slip catch and Parore to a miraculous catch by Elliott - flinging his hand out as he lost his footing at deep square leg. When Vettori followed, New Zealand had lost their ninth wicket 38 minutes from stumps; Australia's first whitewash of their neighbours loomed. But, having turned a meandering doze into a good match, the New Zealanders did not deserve to lose. Doull and O'Connor had moral force on their side as they resisted Warne and Reiffel until the end.

In Australia's first innings, which stretched into the third afternoon, Elliott scored 114, returning to form after a paltry series. Despite a thousand runs in his first year of Test cricket, Elliott was worried about his place. He said: "I'm a pessimist. It's just my nature." He put on 197 with Blewett, whose 99 was his second in Test cricket, and Mark Waugh scored 81. Their batting was encouragement for Australia as they prepared for what was seen as the summer's main event, the Test series with South Africa.

Man of the Match: G. S. Blewett. Man of the Series: M. A. Taylor.

Attendance: 12,396.

Close of play: First day, Australia 39-0 (M. T. G. Elliott 20*, M. A. Taylor 18*); Second day, Australia 273-5 (M. E. Waugh 21*, I. A. Healy 3*); Third day, New Zealand 15-0 (B. A. Young 11*, M. J. Horne 2*); Forth day, Australia 14-0 (M. A. Taylor 5*, M. E. Waugh 9*).

© John Wisden & Co