Australia outclass Black Caps by 10 wickets
WELLINGTON: Australia cruised to a 10-wicket victory and unbeatable 1-0 series lead after New Zealand''s brave resistance was finally broken down early on the final day of the first cricket test here today.
Australia reached their target of 106 in the 23rd over just before lunch as opener Phil Hughes blazed away for 86 off 75 balls while Simon Katich was unbeaten on 18.
New Zealand used their two umpire decision review system challenges early on but were unsuccessful, both leg before wicket appeals against Hughes on 11 Chris Martin and Simon Katich on seven off Brent Arnel.
Tim McIntosh also dropped Hughes at second slip, a straight forward chance off the accurate Arnel with the young opener on 48. After being a late callup for the injured Shane Watson, Hughes cracked 12 fours and a six in his rapid second innings.
The tourists lost just five wickets in the match while New Zealand''s dire batting on Sunday, when they folded for 157 as 11 wickets tumbled on the day, returned to haunt them.
"We obviously need to lift a lot, particularly our first innings efforts. We fought hard in that second innings but we need to show more penetration with the ball in that first innings and stand up a bit more with the bat," captain Daniel Vettori said.
Australian batsman Michael Clarke was named man of the match for his first innings 168.
Visiting captain Ricky Ponting said he had few doubts despite New Zealand''s fightback yesterday after he made a surprisingly early declaration on the second day at 459 for five.
"Not at all. The declaration had a lot to do with what I knew about the weather coming. We could have batted on and got 600 but we would have been touch and go whether we would have got a result," Ponting said.
"It''s all about giving us the best chance of winning, and we''ve done it really well. I was happy with the way the bowlers stuck at it, we''ve been in the field for four consecutive days now."
New Zealand resumed today on 369 for six, an overall lead of 67, but despite a fifth test century from Brendon McCullum the innings only lasted a further 50 minutes.
On a fine, still morning as opposed to the 130kmh gales that buffeted the Basin Reserve yesterday, McCullum was removed for 104 when paceman Ryan Harris found the edge and Michael Clarke took the catch at first slip in the day''s fourth over.
New Zealand were eventually dismissed for 407 off 134.5 overs, losing their final four wickets for 19 runs.
Daryl Tuffey, who added 79 for the seventh wicket with McCullum, was unbeaten on 47 after batting two hours and facing 97 balls.
But Tuffey''s test ended in disappointment when he was hit on the left hand by paceman Mitchell Johnson and X-rays later confirmed a broken bone which will rule him out of the second and final test starting in Hamilton on Saturday.
Debutant Harris was the pick of the Australian bowlers today, taking three wickets to end with four for 77, and six victims for the match.
McCullum batted 229 minutes, faced 187 balls and hit 13 fours and one six in his brave knock.
Resuming on 94, McCullum, in his 50th test square, drove Bollinger behind point for four off the second delivery of the day, then edged him through the vacant third man area to bring up his milestone off 181 balls.
It meant back-to-back test centuries for McCullum after his 185 against Bangladesh in Hamilton last month.
After he departed, Tim Southee drove loosely at Harris to be dismissed without scoring, then Harris trapped Arnel leg before wicket for three before Johnson finished the innings when he skittled Martin for one.