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Elliott, Taylor steer NZ to 6-wicket win

Elliott, Taylor steer NZ to 6-wicket win

Acting captain Michael Clarke, who opened the batting with Warner was batting on five.

Melbourne: Former world number one Australia slumped to their second successive defeat against New Zealand to go 0-2 down in the five-match cricket series and slide to third sport in the ICC ODI rankings.

Put into bat, Australia cut a sorry figure, managing just 225 for five in 50 overs with stand-in captain Michael Clarke (98) and Michael Hussey (75) scoring bulk of the runs.

Chasing the modest target, New Zealand rode on Grant Elliot's unbeaten 61 and useful contributions from Brendon McCullum (43) and Ross Taylor (47) to canter to a six-wicket win with seven balls to spare.

This was Australia's fifth consecutive defeat. Trailing the series 0-2, the hosts now face a must-win situation when they take on New Zealand in the third ODI on Sunday in Sydney.

New Zealand witnessed some torrid moments as well but Elliot stayed till the end to slam an unbeaten 75-ball 61 and hit a boundary off Ben Hilfenhaus to score the winning runs.

New Zealand's chase got off to a poor start after losing opener Martin Guptill (8) in the fifth over. The setback prompted McCullum to shun his natural stroke-play and nudge the ball around. He put on 41 runs with Peter Fulton (21) and another 42 with Taylor before falling to James Hopes.

Taylor did his bit as well but like McCullum, he too missed a half-century despite coming so close to the mark. Elliot, however, not only completed his fifty but also shouldered the responsibility to see the side through.


Earlier, Clarke and Hussey put together a 133-run stand but Australia didn't see any late flourish to settle for a rather modest total. Clarke's 133-ball 98 included seven hits to the fence before he fell to Iain O'Brien just two runs short of what would have been his fourth ODI century.

Hussey's 115-ball 75 had just four fours in it, underlining how hard he toiled for those runs.

Walking out to open the innings with David Warner (2) in regular opener Shaun Marsh's absence, Clarke was watchful early in his innings, especially after the side lost three cheap wickets.

Warner fell to Kyle Mills in the third over and Tim Southee removed number three Brad Haddin (12) in the 10th before David Hussey (12) ran himself out as Australia slumped

to 63 for three.

Clarke played a patient game at the other end, showing his occasional aggression by pulling Southee for a boundary and unleashing some crispy flicks off his pad.

With an able partner in Michael Hussey at the other end, Clarke ran hard between the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking even though Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel bowled a line tight enough to stem the boundaries.

Both Clarke and Hussey decided to counter-attack in the last 10 overs only to perish in quick succession. O'Brien first castled Clarke and in his next over had Hussey caught by Vettori at mid-wicket.

first published:February 06, 2009, 08:49 IST