4th Match: Australia v New Zealand at Sydney, 17 Jan 2002|
New Zealand innings:
BLACK CAPS CLAIM STIRRING WIN AS AUSTRALIA TASTES DEFEAT AGAINAustralia's aspirations of claiming a spot in this season's VB Series finals suffered another grave blow tonight as a brave New Zealand team inflicted a 23-run defeat on the home country here in Sydney.
The Australians entered the match with two losses behind them and with ground to make up on both New Zealand and competition pacesetter South Africa. They started well enough to that end; pace bowlers Glenn McGrath (0/22) and Jason Gillespie (1/28) making both life and scoring difficult for their opponents after the tourists had won the toss and elected to bat.
But their game fell away, a combination of shoddy fielding and lack of resolve from their middle order batsmen ultimately leaving them marooned eight points behind both the Kiwis and the Proteas on the competition table.
"We are playing loose shots and not concentrating as well as we should be; we are just not winning the big moments in the match," mused a disappointed Australian captain, Steve Waugh, after he had watched his team plummet to a total of 212 as it pursued New Zealand's 9/235.
It was its second 23-run loss to the Black Caps after exactly the same result had been reached in the opening match of the series in Melbourne six days ago.
"We got into a position were we could win the match and then we played some loose shots.
"We're not playing well but we'll get ourselves out of it. It's not the end of the world, and we'll come back from here."
Much as they did in Melbourne, the Australians failed to capitalise after working their way into strong positions. After being 6/182 in the 43rd over, the Kiwis should never really have been able to extend their score as far as they did, but the batting of Chris Harris (42*), wayward bowling and erratic fielding changed the complexion of the match.
And then, after Michael Bevan (66) had appeared to be leading a measured Australian chase, another disastrous middle and lower order collapse scuppered the home side's cause completely. A total of six wickets crashed for just 38 runs at the end of the innings as the redoubtable Harris (3/37) and paceman Shane Bond (2/28) helped themselves to the majority of the spoils.
Even the Australians' efforts in maintaining a slow over rate - though this time it was a serious enough indiscretion to incur a one-over penalty from match referee Hanumant Singh - had similarities with the teams' Melbourne encounter.
"We knew that we needed early wickets and particularly the key wicket of Mark Waugh once again," said stand-in New Zealand captain, Chris Cairns.
"He has been a thorn in our side for years."
The run out of Waugh (0) and the departure of Ricky Ponting (11) to a loose drive at Bond gave the Black Caps unmistakable early momentum.
But it wasn't until they shifted Bevan and aggressive debutant Ryan Campbell (38) that they truly began to swing the match their way.
Bevan's departure, to a catch at slip off Cairns (1/32), represented the most crucial breakthrough of all, opening the way for Damien Martyn (24), Shane Warne (14), Ian Harvey (6) and Brett Lee (1) to follow him back to the pavilion in quick succession.
Martyn was unlucky to be run out as Harvey drove back fiercely into the stumps at the non-striker's end off a thin touch from then bowler Cairns.
But he was the only one who could say he was genuinely unfortunate to lose his wicket. Each of the other batsmen was easily conquered by an attack that overcame earlier profligacy in gifting a stream of wides and no-balls.
New Zealand's plans had been thrown into chaos shortly before the match when captain Stephen Fleming was struck on the forearm in a warm-up session and forced to seek precautionary x-rays at a local hospital. He was later cleared of a broken arm and should be available to play in the team's next match of the series - against South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday.
An even happier outcome arrived by the end of the night as the Australians' plans - rather than their own - were the ones shown to be turning the most awry.
The left hander formed one-half of a very handy partnership with stand-in wicketkeeper-batsman Ryan Campbell (38) to add 67 for the third wicket in quick time. But he lost the Western Australian and then his captain Steve Waugh (9) in quick succession through the middle stages of the innings.
Campbell fell to left arm spinner Daniel Vettori, perishing to an excellent catch from Chris Harris at mid wicket. The aggressive right hander, though dropped at 3, had played well until the time of his error in pulling a reasonably full ball. The attainment of that much-needed wicket represented the start of a good comeback from Vettori, who had earlier been hammered for 11 runs from one over as both Campbell and Bevan took to him with vigour.
Waugh was then the victim of an inspired bowling change by New Zealand captain Chris Cairns, losing his wicket as he cut at a short delivery outside off stump from Shane Bond, who had only just been summoned back into the attack. Albeit that the sight of Waugh trudging off the ground had as much to do with another superb catch from Harris - this time a low effort, diving to his right at point - as the bowling of the speedster.
At 4/118, Bevan was paired with Damien Martyn (5*), and again had the scoreboard ticking over at a good rate with his trademark flicks off the pads and drives into gaps in the field for a rash of singles.
All around him, the party atmosphere at the SCG is electric with a huge crowd complementing their enjoyment of the local left hander's batting with a series of Mexican waves. The practice might be banned these days in Melbourne but, at times, it appears that even the occupants of the Ladies and Members' Stands here are joining in.
The Australians - having been docked one of their 50 overs for slow bowling earlier in the day - could barely have commenced their innings in more disastrous fashion. Lou Vincent ran out Mark Waugh (0) after the out-of-form opener pushed a ball into the off side and headed urgently to the bowler's end in a bid to open his scoring account. He had faced only seven deliveries at that stage, departing in just the second over to leave his side reeling at 1/1.
Ricky Ponting (11) played an aggressive cameo before joining Waugh back in the dressing room courtesy of a mistimed drive at Shane Bond that presented a regulation catch to wicketkeeper Adam Parore.
Ponting's exit must have represented something of a relief for the Black Caps after two catches had already been grassed; opener Ryan Campbell (27*) surviving a chance at 3 as he flat batted a Bond delivery to Chris Cairns at mid off and then Ponting himself enjoying a life as Vincent fluffed another chance at square leg with the right hander's score on 0.
Upon Ponting's departure, Campbell and Michael Bevan (17*) added a greater sense of application of the innings, shepherding their team to a mark of 2/34 after the first ten overs before producing a flurry of runs from the following five.
The Australian half-century was raised in only 53 minutes and from 67 balls, though their ascent to this mark was accelerated by significant help from the extras column.
Earlier, the Australians were hit with a one-over penalty by ICC match referee Hanumant Singh for not completing their overs by the scheduled finish time of the first session.
Australia's bowlers made a fine start, reducing the New Zealanders to a score of 3/74 in But the Black Caps began the fightback once Craig McMillan (39) and Chris Cairns (31) were joined at the crease. The duo dealt out heavy punishment to Shane Warne (2/65) in particular, the leg spinner having a total of five boundaries plundered from his first five overs.
Instructively, it was when the stand-in vice captain was removed from the attack and relieved by part-time medium pacer Damien Martyn (1/12) that their positive and at times powerful association was severed - albeit with a juggle.
Wicketkeeper Ryan Campbell juggled the catch four times before he secured an edge from McMillan in his gloves and was able to meet a jubilant Martyn at the stumps.
The next blow for New Zealand came shortly after when Cairns lofted a ball from Jason Gillespie (1/28) into the air to be caught by Steve Waugh running around from mid on.
From the two dismissals came about a restoration period with Scott Styris (20) and Harris leading the way. Though the two didn't have much time to waste, they made a noticeable effort to play controlled shots and run hard between the wickets.
They impressively built the score, accelerating the run rate effectively even after the quick departures of two of the side's more notable strokemakers.
Their tempo was only disturbed upon the reintroduction of Ian Harvey (2/40) into the attack. Whereupon Styris promptly chipped a shot to Michael Bevan at mid off.
The run rate was given a further boost with Adam Parore (18) giving Warne a further belting to add to his earlier woes, a total of ten runs even coming from two successive deliveries at one point. Warne eventually had the last laugh, though it was a full toss from which Mark Waugh clung on to a regulation catch at deep square leg.
Daniel Vettori (2) was the next to go, when he chased a wide delivery from Brett Lee (1/40) and added to Campbell's growing list of victims.
Harris continued to maintain the momentum, though a further wicket was surrendered when James Franklin (5) was run out from the final ball of the allotted 50 overs as the pair attempted to scramble a single.
That reversed a rather disappointing day for Australia in the field - with mistimed slides, wayward returns and overthrows all featuring. There were also three dropped catches, two of them granting McMillan and Cairns early lives.
The Australian bowlers have continued to enforce an advantage that they have maintained for the majority of the match to date, forcing the Black Caps into long periods of slow scoring.
Though it should be said that Craig McMillan (23*) and Chris Cairns (11*) have started to find the task of ticking the scoreboard over a less difficult one than their predecessors at the crease with the field spread and Steve Waugh forced to turn to bowlers other than new ball pair Glenn McGrath (0/18) and Jason Gillespie (0/13).
Another matter in their favour has been some uncharacteristically sloppy fielding from the Australians. Their usually sharp and direct throwing has been askew at times today, with a number of wide and/or long returns and with frantic backing up often needed to prevent the concession of extra runs.
Further errors came in the seventh over of Ian Harvey (1/21) when the fast medium pace bowler managed to secure edges from McMillan and then Cairns, only to see the potential catches dropped by Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne.
Ponting had earlier produced the reverse outcome, accepting a catch wonderfully, low at point, to dismiss number three batsman Lou Vincent (24).
Vincent slashed at Harvey to send the ball flying square of the wicket, to such an extent that Ponting was actually forced into falling on to his back after taking the catch.
With the introduction of McMillan, the scoring rate became comparatively dizzy. The right hander almost immediately took a liking to the bowling of Warne (1/26), thrashing to the boundary more than once.
His aggression proved no more than short-lived, though, because he was forced back into his shell after opening batsman Mark Richardson (26) was enticed down the pitch by Warne and then well stumped by new Australian wicketkeeper Ryan Campbell. Richardson appeared to pull his hamstring in the process, truly finding his own way - as his title song suggests - of courting ignominy.
Cairns then joined McMillan at the crease and the two have made a determined start together as they set about attempting to restore balance to the match.
Mark Richardson (15*) and one-day international debutant Brendon McCullum (5) made a nervous start as the match began, with the two playing and missing; slashing balls into the sky; and coming close to running out one other more than once as well as they looked to increase the scoring rate.
In fact, it was this misunderstanding between the two that ultimately led to McCullum's downfall in the sixth over. With a single on, Richardson headed back to his crease while McCullum continued running, leaving both batsmen at the one end and McCullum with little option but to head mournfully back to the pavilion.
Brett Lee, essentially the only man close to the wicket on the leg side, fielded at mid wicket and then sprinted toward the stumps in a manner resembling the progress of someone who had just won a foot race, with arms raised above his head before he knocked the bails off to set the seal on the terrible mix up.
Around that setback for their opponents, brilliant bowling by Glenn McGrath (0/6) and Jason Gillespie (0/13) continued to hold the New Zealanders in check. The duo serially produced deliveries with which the batsmen struggled to deal effectively, ensuring that the score was stationed at a paltry 1/21 after the opening 12 overs.
The arrival at the crease of the normally-busy Lou Vincent (9*) didn't promote a noticeable uplifting of the tempo either, though the prospect of a double bowling change - with Lee and Ian Harvey introduced - at least offered a sense that the complexion of the match might be about to alter.
Under sunny skies, Australia will be looking for its first win of the series and New Zealand will be attempting to not only extend an early lead on the competition points table over the home country but also to catch up to pacesetter South Africa.
It's been a good start to the latter end, with the New Zealanders winning the toss and deciding to bat after stand-in captain Chris Cairns called correctly.
Most encounters between Australia and New Zealand are hard-fought and this match will likely represent no exception to the general pattern of heartbreaking losses, triumphant wins and ongoing controversies.
Moreover, New Zealand has been the team snapping most determinedly at Australia's heels all summer, even giving it more of a test than heavyweight South Africa during the sides' recent respective Test series. Steve Waugh's XI is unlikely to be expecting anything less than an earnest contest again here either.
The Australians go into this match - the first of the one-day series in Sydney this summer - missing wicketkeeper-batsman, Adam Gilchrist, who has been forced to return home as a result of family commitments. Another Western Australian, Ryan Campbell, fills the position.
Shane Warne makes a return to the role of vice-captain and Glenn McGrath comes back from suspension to replace Andy Bichel. Mark Waugh is included under the team's rotation policy. Ian Harvey takes a role as all-rounder with Andrew Symonds as the twelfth man.
Nw Zealand's plans have been thrown into a little chaos, meanwhile, with the news that captain Stephen Fleming has been forced out of the encounter after injuring his arm in pre match practice. The extent of the injury is unknown at this stage. Exciting youngster Brendon McCullum is his replacement, though the absence of the skipper is nothing less than a huge blow for Black Caps especially after he contributed 85 two days ago against South Africa in Hobart.
Date-stamped : 17 Jan2002 - 14:42