McCullum, rain slow Aussie push
WELLINGTON: A combination of Wellington rain and good batting from Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori today forced Australia to wait for their victory in the first Test.
Only 52 overs were played on the fourth day, with New Zealand moving from 187-5 in their second innings to 369-6 to lead by 67 against Australia. McCullum was unbeaten on 94 with Daryl Tuffey on 23 after Vettori had made 77. “There was some good fight shown and it’s great to see,” said opener Tim McIntosh, whose 83 gave the New Zealanders a bright start. “We’ve given ourselves a good chance to save the Test and maybe even get into a position where we can put them under pressure to possibly even win the Test.”
McCullum hit 11 boundaries and a six. The weather played havoc with the technology required by the umpire decision review system, as the cameras used to track the ball and rule on no-balls were unable to provide accurate data in the windswept conditions.
McCullum was the beneficiary early in the middle session when he did not offer a shot to a Nathan Hauritz ball that turned sharply and rapped him on the pads. Ricky Ponting called for the review but without accurate information, Asad Rauf’s original not out decision could not be overturned.
Despite the setback, Hauritz still believes the system has its merits. “I don’t know how many times you’re going to come up against 130kmh winds,” he said. “It’s a pretty tough thing. The review system has been pretty good so far since it’s come in. It’s there to try and eliminate that error. I think you find with the umpires nine times out of 10 they make the right call and that’s what they are out there to do.”
McCullum had only just brought up his half-century in the over prior to his reprieve, his 52 taking 110 balls, but had also had two other lucky escapes. Ponting grassed a sharp chance at second slip with the right-hander on 38, and he had added a further 10 runs when Brad Haddin let another chance go begging.
Vettori scored his runs quickly before playing a Hauritz ball on to his stumps. By then the pair had added 126, breaking the previous best sixth-wicket stand against Australia of 110 by Stephen Fleming and Chris Cairns, set in Wellington in the 1999-2000 season.
“Full credit to Dan and Brendon, they batted very well,” said Hauritz. “They put the pressure back on us. A couple of times we were probably a bit ill-disciplined with our lines but that happens with a big partnership. We’ve got to come out tomorrow and stay patient and just do what we’ve been doing all Test. We’ve got a big job ahead of us tomorrow to wrap their tail up and chase down the runs. Hopefully the weather can ease off a little bit. I don’t mind the wind just as long as it doesn’t get too cloudy.”