Daniel Vettori showed he could have a long-term future at No. 6 after his committed half-century pushed New Zealand closer to making Australia bat again. Vettori was unbeaten on 60 at lunch while Brendon McCullum was 39 as they reached 266 for 5, 36 runs short of eliminating the deficit.
Vettori, who scored 46 in the first innings, has been promoted two spots in the order this season and he was delivering in a crucial situation on a day disrupted by fierce wind gusts. Rain delayed the start and the hosts resumed their second innings on 187 for 5, knowing they didn’t have much batting power after Vettori and McCullum. The local bowlers were still in the dressing room at the break after the pair put on 83 for the sixth wicket.
Vettori began on 18 and drove a smart boundary in the opening over and was generally comfortable, although he may have a sore hand after a Mitchell Johnson short ball hit him and went over second slip for four. Australia took the new ball midway through the session and Vettori immediately edged Johnson through the vacant third slip area. When that position was filled he glided one past the new man for another four.
A boundary through cover off Ryan Harris brought up a much-needed half-century and Vettori continued to deflect the bowlers, who were tired after choosing to be in the field over three consecutive days. Vettori struck six fours during his 89-ball innings, but will be required to do a lot more if his side is to set a testing target.
McCullum was focussed on batting for a long time and usually avoided the big shots that can lead to his departure. He cut Nathan Hauritz when he dropped short and eased Johnson through cover or point a handful of times when he over-pitched. It was an uncharacteristically gritty display that included seven fours in 91 deliveries.
Gusts of more than 100kph forced the players to hold on to their caps, the heavy version of the bails blew off and the cameramen standing in the stands had ropes to grab when they wobbled. Before play the wind was so strong it ripped the covers from the hands of the groundsmen and moved the light roller.
The conditions helped the bowlers at the Vance Stand End, but were a severe hindrance for the men at the other one. Hauritz was given that duty at the beginning and end of the session while Harris took over with the new ball and achieved speeds in the 130kphs. There is the threat of rain later in the day and New Zealand will welcome anything that helps their quest to save the game.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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