All-rounder McGrath

New Zealand 353 Australia 564-9

Glenn McGrath, thoroughbred fast bowler for a decade, embarked on a new career as an all-rounder in his 102nd Test match at the Gabba, hitting his first half-century as Australia took complete command of the First Test on the third day.

Glenn McGrath, thoroughbred fast bowler for a decade, embarked on a new career as an all-rounder in his 102nd Test match at the Gabba, hitting his first half-century as Australia took complete command of the First Test on the third day.

A genuine No 11 until yesterday, McGrath's remarkable unbeaten knock of 54 off 66 deliveries helped to give Australia what promised to be a match-winning lead of 211 runs. New Zealand will be ruing the missing of two chances McGrath gave, to Brendon McCullum and Mark Richardson, in the same over soon after he came to the crease.

Spectacular though McGrath was, the real damage of the day - and the match - was done by Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist, who both scored wonderful centuries when the Test was in the balance. Australia resumed on 197 for 4, but after they lost Damien Martyn for 70 Gilchrist and Clarke turned the tide of the match. The pair were quickly into their stride and took the run-rate upto four an over as Gilchrist brought up his century from just 130 balls.

The 216-run stand was brought to an end when Clarke tried to slog the spinner Daniel Vettori and was clean bowled between bat and pad for a scintillating 141. It was his first Test innings in Australia, and follows the century he made on debut in India recently to confirm his arrival as a Test batsman of real pedigree.

Chris Martin was clipped for three consecutive fours by Gilchrist to the fine-leg boundary but gained his revenge in the same over when Gilchrist, on 126, attempted a hook shot that picked out Scott Styris in the deep.

After Shane Warne became Vettori's fourth victim, New Zealand just could not polish off the innings. Although Kyle Mills caught Michael Kasprowicz off Martin for 5, McGrath and Jason Gillespie, with 43 not out, produced the amazing, unbroken last-wicket stand of 93 to put Australia within sight of victory.

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