Agence France Presse

Christchurch, March 12:

The first Test between New Zealand and Australia was delicately poised at the end of the third day after a 212-run partnership by centurions Simon Katich and Adam Gilchrist hauled Australia back into contention. The Australian innings finished on 432, just one run behind New Zealand, with Stephen Fleming and Craig Cumming extending the lead to 10 runs in the brief six overs before the close. In a day of swinging fortunes, New Zealand took the honours in the first and third sessions but when it looked like Australia were in danger of not making the follow-on target, it was the dominance of Katich and Gilchrist in the middle section. They came together with the score at 201/6, when Australia had lost three wickets for 54 runs in the morning, and their partnership ended with the score at 413. Stephen Fleming took the new ball in the 89th over but there was little bother for the batsmen as they added 133 off 30 overs in the post-lunch session. Katich reached 118 before holing out to Lou Vincent off the bowling of Nathan Astle in an innings that included 17 fours and a six, while Gilchrist, who was particularly ruthless on Daniel Vettori, had 12 fours and six sixes in his 121. But it was Vettori who came to New Zealand’s rescue, eventually getting the better of Gilchrist and finishing with 5-106.