Vettori holds off Henriques assault

New Zealanders 266 and 5 for 157 (Vettori 61*, Flynn 55, Henriques 5-29) lead New South Wales 361 (Thornely 85, S Smith 68, Vettori 4-71, O'Brien 3-73) by 62 runs

Daniel Vettori performed his familiar rescue act with bat and ball as most of New Zealand's batsmen again struggled at the SCG. Vettori finished off the New South Wales innings and then had batting support from Daniel Flynn but that was about it on a day when Moises Henriques destroyed the top order with 5 for 29.

New Zealand were undermanned once again; the ill Jesse Ryder did not bat and Brendon McCullum, who had battled back problems, dropped down the order to No. 7. When rain forced an early stumps, McCullum was on 5 and Vettori was unbeaten on 61 but the visitors had at least claimed a lead of 62 runs with their score on 5 for 157.

The efforts of Vettori and Flynn were especially important after Henriques rattled the visitors by taking 3 for 0 from 11 balls shortly after lunch. It left New Zealand at 4 for 35 and there was a slim chance they would fail to make New South Wales bat again.

But the pair combined for a 113-run fifth-wicket partnership that eventually ended when Flynn was caught at slip off Henriques for 55. It continued a terrific match for the allrounder Henriques, who posted his maiden first-class half-century on the second day and has a chance to register his best bowling in an innings when play resumes on the final morning.

New South Wales will be hoping to finish off the New Zealanders as quickly as they themselves were bundled out in the first session. But the home side did manage to add 52 to their overnight score as Steven Smith (68) copied Henriques in passing fifty for the first time.

Smith was the last man out, caught behind by Aaron Redmond, who retained the gloves with McCullum off the field. Vettori ended up with 4 for 71 but New Zealand need his team-mates to also find form ahead of the first Test, which begins in Brisbane on Thursday.

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