Australia executed a perfectly-paced chase to brush aside New Zealand by seven wickets in their warm-up match at The Oval. Ponting led the way with a brisk half-century and received support from his deputy Michael Clarke who remained unbeaten to ensure victory was secured in the final over.
There was good news on the bowling front too with Mitchell Johnson taking 4 for 20 while Brett Lee bowled with hostility and took 1 for 9 off 3.5 overs. Their new-ball partnership left New Zealand’s top-order in shreds at 21 for 5 and it needed a feisty recovery from Scott Styris and Peter McGlashan, who was playing Australia for the first time, to set a respectable target.
Australia made a near-perfect start, with Lee and Johnson snaring the New Zealand openers in consecutive overs. There were an astonishing number of dot balls as both bowlers passed the bat with regularity. The New Zealand batsmen’s efforts to break free failed - Martin Guptill holed out after striking one boundary, as did Ross Taylor after hitting three fours in a row. Jacob Oram’s dismissal - run out without facing a ball - hurt New Zealand further but they recovered to 147 thanks to the depth of their batting line-up.
Australia also bat deep - Lee is slotted at No. 10 - but their lower order wasn’t tested on the day. They too suffered a minor hiccup at the start, losing both Shane Watson and David Warner within the space of five balls to James Franklin, but Ponting and Clarke prevented any further damage. They planned the chase masterfully, picking up singles and twos with regularity, chipping away at the asking-rate and then reducing it dramatically with the odd boundary.
Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, was pleased with his team’s effort and said that they were improving with every game.
“Brett and Mitchell almost put the game to sleep in the first six overs. Then we chased the score down sensibly,” he said. “It is nice to turn the competitive juices on in a game situation.
“You can never replicate that in training no matter how hard you do it, so to play against another country gets the adrenaline going and some good stuff happened because of the competitive environment.”
He reserved special praise for Johnson, whose four economical wickets cut through New Zealand. “He is just starting to get some condition about him,” Nielsen said. “He has just come off a month in Perth, where he has been doing some work in the gym. He was beaming last night because of the fact he thought his rhythm was there and the ball was coming out fast without him trying hard.
“That’s always a good indication. It is always about three or four runs in that he bowls at his best and he is only two runs in at the moment.”
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, June 5th, 2009 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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