Match report: 3rd ODI, February 26 2005 at Eden Park, Auckland
by Jim Ellingham

Scorecard:New Zealand v Australia

DateLine: 13th March 2005


As Good As It Gets


Auckland’s Eden Park turned on a fine day and a another huge crowd, of close to thirty thousand, gathered to witness the Black Caps in their quest to beat the world’s number one ranked team – or indeed just to marvel at the multi faceted skills of New Zealand’s opponents. The New Zealand selectors again ignored calls to introduce inform players Aldridge and Hamilton and made two changes with Canterbury’s Michael Papps called into the team to replace and out psyched Mathew Sinclair while the 12th man at Christchurch, James Marshall came into the team to replace Wilson leaving McMillan and Astle to shoulder heavy bowling duties. The Marshalls thus become the first pair of identical twins to represent New Zealand at international cricket. For Australia Katich replaced the injured Hayden and McGrath was rotated out making way for the ever-reliable Michael Kasprowicz.


Australia batted first and got of to a remarkable start with New Zealand’s former Mr Reliable, Darryl Tuffey going for 25 runs in his only two overs of the innings and bowling five no-balls and four wides in a spell where the only constancy came from Tuffey’s inability to find a line or length. Gilchrist and Katich put on 68 for the first wicket but Australia then suffered a mini-collapse of sorts as they found themselves 128/5 with Daniel Vettori finally gaining the well-deserved wickets of Katich and Martyn in another princely performance. However, the bad news for the Black Caps was that Vettori again aggravated his back complaint and New Zealand’s only reliable front line bowler would possibly miss the rest of the one-day series. Astle and McMillan also bowled tidily enough but their medium pace isn’t going to cause the Australian batting line-up any concern. The last few overs of the innings were a rout as briefly Symonds then golden boy Clark and Michael Hussey saw Australia through to yet another imposing total.


However, in the modern day game 264 is gettable and New Zealand had a real chance as long as their experienced and best batsmen stuck around. Unfortunately for Fleming it wasn’t to be as he yet again fell victim to Lee for one with the score on seven. Lee then found another way of removing a New Zealand batsman as he twice struck a forward pressing Papps on the head and forced him to retire hurt from the match and most likely retire psychologically scarred from the series. Papps’ selection in this game was partly explained as giving him preparation for the test matches. Maybe more cruelly it exposed his technique and saved him from embarrassment in the five-day game. Hamish Marshall, Astle and McMillan though then restored some hope to the New Zealand cause with Hamish Marshall again looking an international batsman of real quality. All hope was dashed when both Marshalls found identical ways to get out as they tried to push and run singles to Australia’s best athlete Andrew Symonds and his stunning direct hits saw New Zealand loose all hope in a lost cause. The Black Caps’ tail lacked its customary wag and the only fireworks came from Brendon McCullum as he reacted angrily to a Brett Lee beamer that crunched into his arm. Hogg ended up taking three wickets on a helpful surface but it was again the Australian pace trio, this time of Lee, Gillespie and Kasprowicz that made the inroads into New Zealand’s brittle batting order as well frying up the runs.


Australia 264/5 in 50 overs (S.Katich 58, M.Clarke 71 not out, M.Hussey 65 not out, D.Tuffey 2-0-25-0, D.Vettori 10-0-31-2) beat New Zealand 177 all out in 41.5 overs(N.Astle 27, H.Marshall 55, C.McMillan 26, B.Lee 7-0-24-2, J.Gillespie 6-0-14-0, M.Kasprowicz 8-1-28-1, B.Hogg 7.5-0-45-3) by 87 runs and take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five match series.


(Article: Copyright © 2005 Jim Ellingham)


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