Ponting unbeaten as Australia take series

New Zealand 292 &amp; 254, Australia 383 &amp; 166-1 <i>Australia win by 9 wickets</i>
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The Independent Online

Australia won their three-match Test series 2-0 against New Zealand here yesterday with a day to spare. Set 164 to win, Australia raced home in the 30th over with their captain, Ricky Ponting, hitting an unbeaten 86 and the opener Justin Langer scoring 59 not out.

Australia won their three-match Test series 2-0 against New Zealand here yesterday with a day to spare. Set 164 to win, Australia raced home in the 30th over with their captain, Ricky Ponting, hitting an unbeaten 86 and the opener Justin Langer scoring 59 not out.

"I wanted to get the game over and done with," Ponting said. "I didn't want to wait and see what the weather was going to be like tomorrow."

The Australians scored the runs in less than a session after mopping up the New Zealand second innings at tea with the paceman Glenn McGrath left stranded on 499 Test wickets.

"Get the ice packs out because the guys have been pretty beaten up," the New Zealand captain, Stephen Fleming, said. "We have to try and salvage the positives to come out of a series like this."

McGrath took 4 for 40 in the innings, but will have to wait until the first Ashes test at Lord's before he can join Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Courtney Walsh in the exclusive 500 club.

Warne also took four wickets yesterday as the Kiwis collapsed in two sessions despite defiant half-centuries from Nathan Astle and Daniel Vettori. Astle top-scored with 69, sharing a 70-run partnership with Lou Vincent then an 81-stand with Vettori, who finished with 65 and a series average of 66.

* The Pakistan captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, has been banned for one Test match and fined 30 per cent of his match fee for dissent during his side's recent Test win over India.

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