Stubborn resistance from the New Zealand batsmen failed to prevent Australia from claiming the upper hand on the first day of the second Test yesterday. The Kiwis closed on 262 for 6 with an unbeaten partnership of 34 between Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori in the final session giving the tourists renewed hope.
McCullum, 30 not out, smashed a six through cover early in his innings but played with more control as the afternoon progressed while Vettori, unbeaten on 12, started his innings in cautious fashion and took 17 minutes to get off the mark.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Vettori set a total of 350 as a target for his team to aim for. So he and his deputy knew they still had plenty of work to do heading into the second day. Australia, on the other hand, knew they were one wicket away from bowling at the tail.
Nathan Hauritz, who was brought into the side after Jason Krejza rolled his ankle on Wednesday during a training drill, had a roller-coaster ride of a day, finishing with 2 for 63, while Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Symonds chipped in with a wicket each.
New Zealand got on the front foot by reaching 101 for 1 at lunch. But from that point on, wickets fell at regular intervals as a number of players were dismissed cheaply. Aaron Redmond's dismissal was the biggest setback after he had bullied Hauritz in the first session and raced to 65 at lunch. He was steaming towards his maiden Test century before he attacked Hauritz once too often, the slog-sweep being his downfall as Symonds caught him at deep midwicket. He was out for 83, with 68 of his tally coming from boundaries. Jamie How (16), Jesse Ryder (13) and Peter Fulton (29) also threw their wickets away.
It was a day of extremes for Hauritz, who was hammered for 29 off three overs before lunch and then hit back with the wickets of Ryder and Redmond. But just when he thought his luck had changed, the New South Wales player was injured as he tried to field a ball in the outfield. He was helped off the ground and television pictures showed him in the changing rooms with his ankle strapped.
New Zealand began the last session on 196 for 4 with Ross Taylor looking good on 40. But he added only four more before he was adjudged out leg before. Daniel Flynn was then beaten for pace by Lee, his dismissal bringing Vettori and McCullum together.