Cairns turns Kiwis around

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The Independent Online

A pugnacious century from the all-rounder Chris Cairns steered New Zealand from a perilous position at 66 for 5 to a position of authority at stumps on the first day of the second Test against Australia here.

Australia, fresh from a 62-run victory in the first Test in Auckland and chasing their ninth-successive win, soon had the Kiwis in trouble after the home captain, Stephen Fleming, had won the toss and decided to bat.

But 109 off 138 balls from Cairns revived the hosts' first innings to 298 all out. By the close, Australia had lost two wickets for 29 runs.

Michael Slater was unbeaten on 22, having seen his opening partner, Greg Blewett, go for a duck and the nightwatchman Shane Warne go for seven off the last ball of the day from left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori.

"I really enjoy playing against the Australians and today I wasn't as fragile as other days," Cairns said. "I'll wait four more days before I decide if it's my best Test innings because you're always after a victory - that's what makes it."


First day; New Zealand won toss

New Zealand - First Innings

M J Horne c Warne b Lee 4 C M Spearman c Gilchrist b Lee 4 M S Sinclair lbw b Miller 4 S P Fleming c Miller b Warne 16 N J Astle c M Waugh b Warne 61 C D McMillan c Gilchrist b Lee 1 C L Cairns c Blewett b Miller 109 A C Parore c Gilchrist b Blewett 46 D L Vettori c Langer b Warne 27 S B Doull c Slater b Warne 12 S B O'Connor not out 2 Extras (1b, 8lb, 3nb) 12 Total (80.5 overs) 298 Fall: 1-4, 2-9, 3-18, 4-53, 5-66, 6-138, 7-247, 8-282, 9-287.

Bowling: McGrath 17-4-60-0 Lee 17-2-49-3 Miller 20-2-78-2 Warne 14.5-1-68-4 Blewett 8-1-24-1 S Waugh 4-0-10-0.

Australia - First Innings

M J Slater not out 22 G S Blewett c Astle b Doull 0 S K Warne lbw b Vettori 7 Extras 0 Total (for 2, 7 overs) 29 Fall: 1-8, 2-29. To bat: J L Langer, M E Waugh, S R Waugh, D R Martyn, A C Gilchrist C R Miller, B Lee, G D McGrath.

Bowling: Cairns 3-0-14-0; Doull 3-1-12-1; Vettori 1-0-3-1.

Umpires: D M Quested and Riazuddin (Pak).