Australia-New Zealand Test tantalisingly poised

November 21st, 2008 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Chris MartinBrisbane, Nov 21 (IANS) Australia stormed back into the first Test against New Zealand riding on tearaway Mitchell Johnson’s four-wicket haul that bowled out the visitors for 156 in the first innings. But the Test was tantalisingly poised at the end of the second day’s play.After taking a crucial first innings lead of 58 runs, Australia’s joy was short-lived as Kiwi pacemen Chris Martin (3-52) and Ian O’Brien (2-23) scythed through their top order to reduce the Aussies to 131 for six in the second innings at close of second day’s play.

Simon Katich continued his fine form as he was batting on 67 with Brad Haddin (6) at the other end when the stumps were drawn.

The hosts now have an overall lead of 189 runs as the match is tantalisingly poised.

The Gabba pitch again turned out to be a bowler’s delight and batsmen’s graveyard as 26 wickets fell in two days.

After having dismissed Australia for 214 in the first innings, New Zealand batsmen failed to compliment the bowlers and were blown away by a pumped up Aussie pace attack.

Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and and Shane Watson took two wickets each while Johnson bowled a fiery line to wreck the lower order.

Johnson, who was Australia’s best bowler in their lacklustre campaign in India, missed a hat-trick but finished with career-best 4/30. Johnson collected three wickets in six balls that also included New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori (2).

New Zealand started their first innings on a disappointing note as they were reduced to 44/2. But Ross Taylor (40), Daniel Flynn (39 not out) and Jesse Ryder (30) tried to steady the innings before the collapse.

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