Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Australia builds 211-runlead against New Zealand


Australian batsman Glenn McGrath acknowledges the applause after scoring his first test 50 at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.


Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist shared a 216-run sixth-wicket partnership and tailenders Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie combined to pile on the pain for New Zealand yesterday as Australia built a 211-run lead in the first cricket test.

The Australians produced two record partnerships against New Zealand and were 564 for nine in their first innings at stumps on the third day, replying to 353.

McGrath was unbeaten on 54, belting Daniel Vettori for consecutive boundaries to raise his first test 50 in 102 matches. Gillespie contributed 43 in an unbroken 93-run dig over 110-minutes, an Australian record for the last wicket against New Zealand.

Clarke became the first Australian in 111 years to post centuries on his first tests abroad and then at home, scoring 141 and sharing an Australian record against New Zealand for the sixth wicket.

His partner Gilchrist, who was at the other end when Clarke made 151 against India on debut in Bangalore last month, notched his 12th test hundred and was out for 126 as Australia lost its sixth and seventh wickets in consecutive overs.

Shane Warne (10) and Michael Kasprowicz (5) were out on either side of the tea interval as Australia slipped to 471 for nine.

McGrath, who averaged 6.93 in 114 previous test innings, defied the attack and surpassed his previous high of 39 -- scored against the West Indies in 1998-99 -- by scoring five boundaries and a six.

The Australian No. 11 had one chance on 11 when he got a top-edge to Jacob Oram and Mark Richardson dropped a regulation catch at short mid-wicket.

The Australians resumed Saturday at 197 for four and added 367 runs for the loss of five wickets in 90 overs.

Clarke reached his maiden test hundred on home soil by scoring 11 runs in the over before lunch, including a boundary off the final ball from Chris Martin, to make triple figures.

The 23-year-old righthander stroked 21 boundaries and a six in his 200-ball innings before he was bowled, advancing down the pitch, by Vettori with the total at 438.

Clarke and Gilchrist combined at the departure of Damien Martyn (70) with the total at 222-5 in the morning session and the pair surpassed the previous record of 197 for the sixth wicket against New Zealand set by Allan Border and Greg Matthews in 1985-86.

Gilchrist, who survived two strong shouts for lbw from Vettori when he was on 7 and 94, clobbered four sixes -- including one that landed deep in the grandstand and had outfielder Nathan Astle searching for the ball for several minutes -- and stroked 13 boundaries.

He was out the over after Clarke when Scott Styris ran a long way around at deep mid-wicket and took a tumbling catch off Chris Martin's bowling.

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