Aussies make it ten test victories in a row

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The Independent Online

Australia has clinched its 10th consecutive test win with a crushing six-wicket triumph against New Zealand, prompting skipper Steve Waugh to say that his Aussies were just "on the verge of something special."

Australia set a new world mark for limited-overs internationals with its unbeaten stretch of 14 games earlier this year and is now just one win away from equaling the test record of 11 successive wins set by the West Indies in the 1980s.

Australia's next test opponent is the West Indies in Brisbane, Australia, Nov. 24-28.

Justin Langer blazed 122 runs as Australia erased the second-innings deficit of 210 runs with almost two full days to spare at Hamilton to secure a 3-0 series win against New Zealand - the first ever clean sweep in a trans-Tasman test series.

The win capped an undefeated summer test program for the Australians, who started with a 10-wicket win against Zimbabwe in October and continued with back-to-back 3-0 whitewashes of Pakistan and India in Australia before embarking on the New Zealand tour.

"I believe this is only the beginning and we can play better than that," said Waugh.

He said Australia would emerge after a winter break revitalized for the West Indies series.

"We're going to be fired up and you're going to see us play some exciting cricket," Waugh said Monday. "You can achieve anything you want. It's a matter of whether you want to do the hard work and believe it.

"We did that - so there', many of whom travel to South Africa later this week for a three-match limited-overs series, deserved a break after a hectic two year program which incorporated a winning World Cup campaign in England last year.

"I'm glad it's over. It's been a long haul," he said. "I feel mentally fatigued. We've had cricket in 20 of the last 22 months and eight overseas tours and I'm looking forward to having a so-called normal life for a couple of months."

New Zealand had the Australians reeling at 29 for five in the first innings at Hamilton before Damien Martyn (89), Mark Waugh (28) and Adam Gilchrist (75) combined to regain control of the test.

While Black Caps skipper Stephen Fleming rued missed opportunities, Steve Waugh said he "wasn't a bit concerned about the game."

"And that's the feeling we've got in the side at the moment - that we can get out of any situation," he said. "I knew someone would play well and we would get out it somehow."

Australia resumed Monday at 137 for three, still needing 73 runs for victory, and Langer erased the deficit in just over an hour when he cover drove a boundary to take the second innings total to 212 for four.

Steve Waugh retired hurt on 18 after being struck on the forearm by Daryl Tuffey, but X-rays later cleared him of serious injury.

"I'm pretty sure it's OK but just when it hit it made a terrible noise and I didn't feel good about it and every time I played inside out I had a sharp pain," Waugh said. "I can move it but in the one direction it gives me pain."

Martyn was the only batsman dismissed Monday when he was adjudged lbw to Shayne O'Connor for four. Michael Slater (9), Matthew Hayden (37) and Mark Waugh (18) were dismissed before bad light stopped play 30 minutes early on Sunday.

Steve Waugh started the test in optimistic fashion, winning the toss and sending the Black Caps into bat on what appeared to be a batsman's pitch.

But Brett Lee grabbed five wickets and Glenn McGrath took four wickets to skittle the Kiwis for 232 within three sessions.

O'Connor ripped through the Australian top order with his wild in-swingers, taking 3-15 in his first two stints, before the visitors counter attacked to set up a 20-run first innings lead.

Only Chris Cairns defied the Australian attack in New Zealand's second innings, belting 71 runs including 10 boundaries and two sixes as the Kiwis were bundled out for 229.

Lee took three wickets and McGrath, Colin Miller and Shane Warne grabbed two wickets apiece.

Gilchrist set a new Australian record for most dismissals in a test by a wicketkeeper when he took five catches in New Zealand's second innings for a match haul of 10 wickets.

Scoreboard

Australia 1st Innings 252

New Zealand 2nd Innings 229

Australia, 2nd Innings Michael Slater lbw b O'Connor 9 Matthew Hayden c Spearman b Wiseman 37 Justin Langer not out 122 Mark Waugh c Sinclair b Wiseman 18 Steve Waugh retired hurt 18 Damien Martyn lbw b O'Connor 4 Adam Gilchrist not out 0 Extras: (1lb,3nb) 4

Total: (for four wickets) 212

Overs: 41.3

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-96, 3-124, 4-190.

Did not bat: Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Colin Miller, Glenn McGrath.

Bowling: Chris Cairns 10-1-60-0, Shayne O'Connor 11-1-53-2, Paul Wiseman 9-1-42-2, Daryl Tuffey 11-1-52-0, Craig McMillan 0.3-0-4-0.

Series: Australia wins 3-0.

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