New Zealand 281 for 9 (Williamson 60, Santner 45*, Hazlewood 3-61) v Australia
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Kane Williamson pulls en route to his 60 © Getty Images
New Zealand tallied 281 for 9 in Wellington despite a much improved Australian bowling and fielding effort in a match the visitors must win to keep the Chappell-Hadlee series alive.
Kane Williamson made a smooth 60 but it was a late-innings partnership of 61 from 44 balls between Mitchell Santner and Adam Milne that added heft to the innings after the Australians had claimed regular wickets throughout the afternoon.
The leg spinner Adam Zampa bowled well in his first international match to claim the wickets of Williamson and Grant Elliott, while John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland and Mitchell Marsh also put in decent shifts with the ball.
Nevertheless, Australia must perform far more staunchly with the bat than they managed in the series opener at Eden Park on Wednesday if they wish to force a decider at Seddon Park in Hamilton in two days’ time. Usman Khawaja, among others, will be eager to make a difference.
Australia made three changes to the team that was given a hiding in Auckland, dropping Shaun Marsh for Khawaja, while Boland came in for Kane Richardson due to back soreness, and the debutant Zampa was called up in place of the injured James Faulkner. Zampa had his ODI cap presented to him by Allan Border.
New Zealand, by contrast, were unchanged, in a match where they can complete a series victory over Australia for the first time since 2007. Their captain Brendon McCullum led a typically hyperactive start to proceedings, clattering 28 from 12 balls including a six off each of the Australian pacemen.
Boland’s very first ball was sent flying back over his head and into the sight screen, but he responded well by pulling back his length and being rewarded when McCullum charged again and was bowled. That wicket scotched much of the early momentum, even if Martin Guptill and Williamson moved along smoothly enough for the next 11 overs.
It was Mitchell Marsh who broke the stand, prompting a miscue from Guptill when he tried to force the pace a little more. The chance swirled out towards deep cover, where Khawaja showed excellent judgment to claim a catch more difficult than it appeared. Marsh had another victim when Henry Nicholls, called up to the Test team this week, wafted at a wide delivery: New Zealand had stalled.
Williamson and Elliott formed another useful stand without ever looking in total command. This was in part due to the thoughtful work of Zampa, who varied his pace artfully to keep the batsmen guessing. His reward would come in consecutive overs, as first Williamson then Elliott pushed catches to cover as they tried to manufacture boundaries.
That put New Zealand five down, and regular wickets from there prevented the hosts from pulling together a total of the dimensions they managed at Eden Park. Santner and Milne pulled back some of the ground in the closing overs, but the tourists could be happier with their effort.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo