Katich puts Australia on brink of victory

November 22nd, 2008 - 10:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Brisbane, Nov 22 (IANS) Australia were comfortably poised to win the first Test against New Zealand after a tenacious batting display from Simon Katich revived their fortunes here Friday.Australia, who were off to a floundering start in their second innings, were steadied by Katich’s (131 not out) herculean effort. Katich thus became the first Australian in a decade to carry his bat through the innings.

The home side were reeling at 131 for six at stumps on the second day but finished at 268 in their second innings.

Chasing the victory target of 327, New Zealand were staring down the barrel after being reduced to 143 for six wickets at stumps on the third day.

Katich gelled well with the tail and added 82 runs with last two pairs. He piled 53 runs with Mitchell Johnson and thereafter 29 runs with Stuart Clark (3-23) for the last wicket.

With Clark’s dismissal, Katich became the first Australian to remain unbeaten through a completed Test innings since Mark Taylor in Adelaide in 1997-98.

In reply, New Zealand’s run chase received a setback after opener Jamie How edged a catch off Brett Lee in second slip in the third ball of the innings. The New Zealand batsmen thereafter were continuously rattled by a resurgent Australian attack.

Ross Taylor and Daniel Flynn tried to stem the rot with their 84 run stand before Flynn was bowled by Mitchell Johnson for 29.

Taylor kept the run flow steady at one end even as wickets kept falling around him. With two more days to go and a 184 run deficit, New Zealand will need more than a miracle to save the Test.

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