Australia go marching on

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The Independent Online

Australia cruised to a six-wicket win Monday against New Zealand with a day to spare in the second test, clinching the trans-Tasman series 2-0 and setting a new national record with its ninth successive test triumph.

Justin Langer scored 57 and Mark Waugh remained unbeaten on 44 as Australia overhauled the 174-run victory target in less than two sessions.

The Aussies reached 177 for four just on the scheduled stumps time after bowling the New Zealanders out for 294 on the fourth day at Wellington's Basin Reserve.

It was Australia's first win in 54 years at the Basin Reserve and its first series win in New Zealand since 1977.

The Australians bettered the national record of eight successive test wins, set by Warwick Armstrong's team in 1920-21, and are now vying for the international record of 11 successive wins set by the West Indies in the 19080s.

Australian skipper Steve Waugh said it was satisfying to achieve the record in a country where he'd experienced one of his worst moments as a cricketer, losing a series to the Black Caps in 1985-86 when he was a 20-year-old.

Prior to this tour I was saying "don't ever take winning for granted because I was here 15 years ago when we got bowled out for 103," Waugh said.

The Australian team was "aware that we went through tough periods but they were more concerned about making sure this year is one that's going to be remembered," he added.

Australia also set a record in limited-overs internationals when it extended i0 lead against New Zealand earlier this month before losing the series finale.

Steve Waugh said Australia had improved on its 62-run win against the Black Caps in the Auckland test last week.

"It's nice to have the Australian record," he said. "Over 100 years of history and I guess we're tops now. We're looking to try and make it a few more, but it's a satisfying moment to have that record in the same year that we did the one-day record."

Australia has one test remaining against New Zealand this season, starting Friday at Hamilton. If the Aussies win in Hamilton, they will have to wait until the West Indies tour Down Under next summer to have a shot at the next record.

Australia's stretch started with a 10-wicket win against Zimbabwe at Harare in October last year and continued with back-to-back 3-0 series whitewashes of Pakistan and India before the current tour.

New Zealand scored 298 in its first innings at Wellington, due largely to a Chris Cairns century, before Australia replied with 419 with Michael Slater and Steve Waugh blazing hundreds.

In its second innings, Australia lost Slater (12), Greg Blewett (25), Langer and Steve Waugh (15) at 144 before Mark Waugh hit the winnings runs. Damien Martyn remained not out 17.

Shayne O'Connor was the most successful bowler, removing Langer and Steve Waugh and taking 2-42, while Daniel Vettori returned from injury to snare the wicket of Slater, who was neatly stumped by Adam Parore.

Earlier, the Black Caps staged a comeback which almost forced the test into another day.

After resuming Monday at 189 for five, the Kiwis slumped to 222 for eight when Cairns (69) and skipper Stephen Fleming (60) were dismissed.

But No.10 Simon Doull blasted 40 runs from 35 balls in a 54-run tailend stand with Parore to prolong the New Zealand innings, which eventually ended when Parore was run out for 33 by a direct hit from Blewett 3.3 overs after the lunch break.


Result: Australia wins by six wickets

New Zealand, 1st Innings 298

Australia, 1st Innings 419

New Zealand, 2nd Innings 294

Australia, 2nd Innings Greg Blewett b Cairns 25 Michael Slater st Parore b Vettori 12 Justin Langer c Spearman b O'Connor 57 Mark Waugh not out 44 Steve Waugh c Fleming b O'Connor 15 Damien Martyn not out 17 Extras: (2b,2lb,3w) 7

Total: (for four wickets) 177 (Overs: 54.1 overs)

Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-83, 3-110, 4-144.

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

Bowling: Chris Cairns 13-2-45-1, Shayne O'Connor 11-2-42-2, Daniel Vettori 8-1-19-1 (3w), Simon Doull 10-2-35-0, Craig McMillan 2-0-13-0, Nathan Astle 10.1-4-19-0.

Australia leads the series 2-0.