New Zealand defend 246 on McCullum's ODI farewell

New Zealand 246 (Guptill 59, Elliott 50, M Marsh 3-34) v Australia
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Brendon McCullum hit 47 off 27 © Getty Images

Brendon McCullum’s farewell ODI cameo was to be overshadowed by a hectic late-innings collapse as Australia restricted New Zealand to a mere 246 in the deciding ODI of the Chappell-Hadlee series in Hamilton.

The hosts lost their last six wickets for 23 after McCullum, Martin Guptill and Grant Elliott all made starts, a meagre target to defend on the small outfield of Seddon Park. The only consolation for the hosts was an apparent slowing up of the pitch as the innings went on, allowing Australia’s bowlers and fielders to close in.

Josh Hazlewood, John Hastings, Scott Boland, Mitchell Marsh and the leg spinner Adam Zampa all delivered useful spells, keeping New Zealand in check before making life difficult for a succession of new batsmen at the crease later in the innings. New Zealand’s total was the smallest the Australians had managed to restrict an opponent to in the eight ODI matches they have played this year.

New Zealand had left out Trent Boult due to illness, while Mitchell Santner was also missing due to a foot ailment ahead of the Test matches. Their places were taken by Doug Bracewell and Ish Sodhi. Perhaps with those changes in mind, McCullum admitted at the toss that he also would have bowled first.

So it was that McCullum’s final ODI innings became the first act of the day. Having shown respect to his first three balls from Josh Hazlewood, he tucked into John Hastings with a trio of boundaries – the first back over the bowler’s head, the second tugged through midwicket and the third punched neatly through cover.

There had been much interest in whether McCullum could reach 200 ODI sixes in this innings, and it was to be Scott Boland who he sized up as the target. Twice McCullum lofted Boland beyond the rope at long-off, before advancing to drop-kick a length delivery high and long over square leg.

That milestone reached, McCullum stayed only four more balls and one more boundary. On 47 he skied Mitchell Marsh and looked on as Hastings took a furtive glance at a converging Glenn Maxwell before taking a very good catch. An appropriate ovation rang out around the ground.

What followed was somewhat anti-climactic, as Steven Smith marshalled his bowlers and fielders to a stout containing effort on a small ground. Zampa again delivered his legbreaks with skill and common sense, conceding only 4.5 runs per over while also coaxing Guptill into a skied paddle sweep to shortish fine leg.

Kane Williamson had been tied down before dragging Boland on, and Henry Nicholls lured into edging a Hazlewood ball moving across him that Smith held sharply at slip. Corey Anderson also found it hard to score in his usually supercharged manner, and was well held by Usman Khawaja on the long-on boundary from one of his better-timed strokes.

Marsh, Boland, Hastings and Hazlewood all made good use of cutters on the dry surface, ushering a rush of wickets as the ball aged. From 223 for 4 the hosts declined to 246 all out, a target Australia will fancy themselves to reel in despite the emotion of McCullum’s farewell.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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