|Scorecard:||New Zealand v Australia|
DateLine: 14th January 2006
After the disappointment of the first one sided one dayer, the Chappell Ė Hadlee series was in danger of becoming a damp squib. However, a brave Black Caps run chase and a masterful innings by Andrew Symonds ensured that this match would be remembered as one of the better one day matches played on these shores. Unlike Februaryís game at Westpac Stadium where New Zealand snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, this match nearly saw the Black Caps reverse the ledger. New Zealand came into this series-deciding match with the same line up as at Eden Park whilst the Australians replaced Cameron White with Mick Lewis as their super sub.
On a super pitch, the Australians won the toss and elected to bat first. Kyle Mills got off to a good start and bowled a tidy opening spell that included the wicket of Adam Gilchrist. James Franklin, his new ball partner was taken too, however. Katich and Ponting recovered the innings until a mid innings collapse had Australia reeling at 101/4 with Styris and Vettori grinding the Australians down. The beauty of one-day cricket is that two bowlers canít dominate and that a whole team needs to bowl well to keep Australian down. On this day, Michael Clarke and in particular Andrew Symonds were brutal on some average Black Caps offerings. Until Vettori bowled a very good last over, Symonds helped himself to a blistering 156. Michael Clark was no tortoise either. It was though Symonds day and when he was out in the final over, the electrified crowed gave the big Australian a standing ovation usually only reserved for the likes of hometown hero Stephen Fleming. At one stage Symonds left Chris Cairns befuddled as he smashed him for three consecutive sixes. In all Symonds hit eight balls clear of the pickets. No bowler apart from Vettori was spared. A worrying aspect for the Black Caps was the continued indifference that Oramís new action has produced. His spell of five overs for thirty-nine was a far cry from the Oram of two summers ago.
New Zealand was faced with a daunting challenge but Vincent responded in characteristically cavalier style with a blistering knock. New Zealandís momentum was halted somewhat mid innings though as debutant Mick Lewis, Stuart Clark and spinner Brad Hogg bowled well. But with the game seemingly out of reach at 156/5, New Zealandís too big batted and bruised all-rounders came together and shifted the momentum of the match. Oram struggled at the first but found his timing as his innings progressed whilst Cairns almost replicated Symondsí feat off three consecutive sixes as he hit Symonds for two barnstorming shots that scattered the rowdy parochial yet good-natured crowd of 16,000.
Oramís departure saw diminutive wicketkeeper Brendan McCullum arrive at the crease and he played another blinding cameo. New Zealand were looking comfortable for the win after Brett Lee bowled a disastrous 49th over that included Ricky Pontingís dummy spit for being no-balled when not inside the 30m circle. At the start of the 50th over New Zealand needed six runs for victory. Debutant Mike Lewis was the man entrusted to bowl the decisive over and he remained cool under pressure and the Black Caps wilted. Firstly McCullum was run out by a brilliant direct hit from Michael Clarke at point before Mills was also run out to leave Australia to bask in Chappell Ė Hadlee glory. There was some disappointment from the crowd but most went away thrilled at what they had seen. Could it get any better than this?
(Article: Copyright © 2006 Jim Ellingham)