Australia back to winning ways but fail to convince

Australia 214 & 268 New Zealand 156 & 177
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The Independent Online

The Australia captain, Ricky Ponting, was happy to claim his first Test win in over five months yesterday, but called on his batsmen to lift their game in the wake of a 149-run victory over New Zealand.

The Australians were on top for the duration of the first Test at the Gabba, but had a number of shaky sessions with the willow. Bold knocks from Michael Clarke (98 in the first innings) and Simon Katich (an unbeaten 131 in the second) propped up the home side's modest totals of 214 and 268.

Ponting suggested his side would not be getting carried away with the win: "I think we were a fair way off playing our best cricket, both teams struggled with the bat on that wicket. [But] after halfway through the second day, it probably wasn't a bad surface to bat on at all. I thought we bowled very well. We fielded well. But our batting wasn't great."

Ponting was confident his side would improve ahead of the second and final Test against the Black Caps in Adelaide on Friday. "We've done what we needed to do. We had a number of outstanding individual performances in the game, but at the moment we're just lacking that real consistency through the group that we need to play our best cricket."

Ponting was impressed with the efforts of man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson, saying "the sky is the limit" for the 27-year-old after he claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in the second innings. "He's done as well as any of our bowlers over the last 12 or 18 months, but he's the first one to go and have a look at video footage and work on things."

The Black Caps captain, Daniel Vettori, saw the loss as a key step in a revolution of New Zealand cricket. The visitors brought an inexperienced line-up into the opening Test and Vettori talked pre-match about how his raw charges must find runs during the series, something they struggled to do in Brisbane. "I still look at the guys and think they're extremely talented, but we've got to turn that talent into a consistent performance," Vettori said.

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