Black Caps edge past Australia

NAPIER: Scott Styris blasted a quickfire 49 to propel New Zealand to a two-wicket win over Australia here in the first of their five-match one-day international (ODI) series today.

Australia posted 275-8, largely thanks to Mike Hussey (59) and Shane Watson (45), but they lost wickets regularly. Brendon McCullum (45) and Peter Ingram (40) set New Zealand off to a good start in reply while stand-in captain Ross Taylor’s 70 kept them in touch. And Styris lofted Doug Bollinger for a match-winning six in the final over.

The visitors had looked likely to set a target in excess of 300 after Watson hit Tim Southee for 14 in the first over and Australia raced to 50 in the sixth over. But once he was out, caught by Ingram at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Jacob Oram, the run-rate slowed considerably.

Ricky Ponting scored 44 before he was undone by James Franklin’s slower ball and drove to Martin Guptill at short cover while Michael Clarke (22) was surprised by a Daryl Tuffey bouncer. Hussey put on 72 with James Hopes (33) to lift the Aussies to a competitive total.

McCullum and Ingram put on 75 for the first New Zealand wicket, but they too lost batsmen as partnerships were blossoming. Taylor held the innings together with a run-a-ball 70, although when he holed out in the deep to Hussey off Watson, his side were 204-5. Neil Broom, Tuffey and Southee all fell cheaply to leave Styris needing to engineer 30 runs with Shane Bond, as all rounder Oram had been forced off left the field with a knee injury.