Cricket: Crowe flies as Reiffel fires

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New Zealand 237-3 v Australia

SHRUGGING aside the doubts over his captaincy, Martin Crowe enlivened a day of hard graft at Wellington yesterday to put New Zealand in a good position against Australia in the second Test.

Inserted on an opening day which produced 28 runs before rain forced play to be abandoned, the hosts prospered initially via a New Zealand record opening stand against Australia, Mark Greatbatch and John Wright putting on 111 to surpass the 107 Glenn Turner and John Parker gained at Auckland in 1973-74.

Australia had few answers on an occasionally inconsistent pitch offering scant assistance to an erratic pace attack that struggled to disturb the two imperturbable left-handers before Greatbatch fell to the most threatening bowler, Paul Reiffel, caught at second slip for 61. Wright played the anchor role, surviving a chance to gully on 26 and battling through in typically dogged fashion to 72 before the wayward Merv Hughes had him caught behind.

Out of touch in Christchurch, where New Zealand were crushed by an innings and 60 runs in the first Test, Andrew Jones continued his bad run when Reiffel seamed one back to bowl him for four.

That brought in Crowe, who had offered to resign the captaincy after the Lancaster Park debacle but responded to the pressure by displaying his full repertoire of strokes, a majestic array of pulls, cuts and off-drives bringing him 10 fours and a pulled six in his unbeaten 62.

(Second day: Australia won toss)

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings

(Overnight: 28-0)

M J Greatbatch c Taylor b Reiffel 61

J G Wright c Healy b Hughes 72

A H Jones b Reiffel 4

* M D Crowe not out 62

K R Rutherford not out 14

Extras (b4 lb1, w1 nb8) 24

Total (for 3) 237

Fall: 1-111 2-120 3-191.

To bat: T Blain, C L Cairns, D N Patel, D K Morrison, M B Owens, W Watson.

Bowling: McDermott 26-8-57-0; Hughes 25-7-67-1; Reiffel 20-8-38-2; S R Waugh 15-7-28-0; Warne 16-5- 29-0; M E Waugh 2-1-3-0.

AUSTRALIA: M A Taylor, D C Boon, J L Langer, M E Waugh, S R Waugh, *A R Border, I A Healy, P R Reiffel, M G Hughes, S K Warne, C J McDermott.