Australia poised for victory over Kiwis

WELLINGTON: Australia closed in on victory in the first Test after forcing New Zealand to follow on here today.

The home side were bowled out for 157 and then struggled to 187-5, still 115 behind, before bad light ended play. Left-armer Doug Bollinger was the pick of Australia’s attack, taking 5-28 in New Zealand’s first innings. He then removed BJ Watling and Peter Ingram when they batted again, with Nathan Hauritz also picking up two wickets, including Tim McIntosh for 83.

It was harrowing viewing for New Zealand coach Mark Greatbatch as his side lost their last six first-innings wickets in just 12.1 overs at the start of play. Skipper Daniel Vettori (46) was caught in the slips off Ryan Harris from the fifth ball of the day and after a breezy 24 from Brendon McCullum, the last five wickets went down for only nine runs.

McCullum, who was reprieved on nought by the TV umpire, who overruled a leg-before decision because Harris had overstepped, hit a six and three fours before he was caught off Bollinger. Martin Guptill (30) edged to the keeper two balls later and Daryl Tuffey, Brent Arnel and Tim Southee were swept away in the space of four deliveries.

Ricky Ponting had no hesitation in asking the Kiwis to bat again, and they needed to show far greater resolve second time around to avoid total humiliation. Watling and McIntosh saw off the new ball in a first wicket stand of 70, but when the former was trapped leg before wicket for 33 to Bollinger.

Bollinger followed up by having Ingram caught behind and Ross Taylor (25) was next to go after being struck on the pads by a sharply turning off-break from Hauritz. He was given not out by the on-field umpire but Australia called for a review and their appeal was upheld.

Guptill only managed six before he fell to Harris but McIntosh and Vettori halted the slide by adding 47 for the fifth wicket. McIntosh struck a six and 10 fours during his four-and-a-half-hour innings but missed out on a second Test hundred when he edged a ball from Hauritz to Simon Katich shortly before the umpires offered the light.