Toss Australia. Test debut D. R. Tuffey.
The Australians brought in the left-handed Hayden to open with Slater in place of the out-of-touch Blewett, while New Zealand recalled Wiseman for the injured Vettori and, omitting Doull, gave a first Test to the burly Maori, Daryl Tuffey. Steve Waugh, hoping for early help from the grassy pitch, bowled first and, though the pitch had no mischief in it, the New Zealand batting contained its usual ration of ups and downs. Lee, using his speed well, took five consecutive wickets in the middle of the innings, including Astle second ball. Had McMillan not stayed almost three and a quarter hours for his 79, adding 77 with Cairns, New Zealand would have been on the back foot throughout. As it was, they had Australia in that position 13 overs into their reply. O'Connor removed Hayden just before stumps, and on the second morning, gaining sharp natural in-swing to the right-handers, he had Slater and Warne lbw. When Cairns bowled Langer and had Steve Waugh caught at slip, Australia were 29 for five.
Afterwards, Steve Waugh said he had such confidence in his team that he was not worried when the first innings was on the brink of ruin. Someone would come to the rescue. He could hardly have expected that the "someone" would be his opposite number, the New Zealand captain. But with O'Connor seemingly poised for the killing blow, Fleming removed him from the attack after five overs of his morning spell and introduced the new boy, Tuffey. Immediately the match turned towards Australia, with Mark Waugh and Martyn finding progress easy against Tuffey and the tiring Cairns before lunch. The second session belonged to Gilchrist, who launched a spectacular counter-attack in which he cracked 16 fours in 75 from only 80 balls. He and Martyn put on 119 for the seventh wicket in an hour and a half and Australia were off the hook. O'Connor came back to take the last two wickets and finish with his first five-wicket return in his 12 Tests.
Yet again, New Zealand started badly, with Miller running out Horne in the third over. Spearman batted two hours until the close but was soon out on the third morning, one of ten catches for Gilchrist, an Australian record. Once more Cairns mounted the main challenge and his 71, including two typical sixes and ten fours, lifted his aggregate for the series to 341 at 56.83. When he was ninth out, just before tea, Australia were in line for their third successive clean-sweep in a three-Test series and their tenth consecutive Test victory, half of them won with a day or more to spare. Requiring 210 for victory, they strolled to 137 for three in the third session; all they needed on the fourth morning were 14 overs as Langer put the finishing touches to his golden summer. He reached 50 from 42 deliveries and his 122 not out came at a run a ball, with 19 fours. Australia had bolted home.
Man of the Match: A. C. Gilchrist.