Tim Southee and Shane Bond ensured the National Bank Chappell/Hadlee series finished on a positive note with the BLACKCAPS fast bowlers engineering a 51 run win over Australia at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
For the fifth time in the series Ricky Ponting won the toss and again put the BLACKCAPS into bat with the home site scratching their way to 241 for nine.
It felt like a case of déjà vu at the break but the script was different this time around as the bowling attack bundling out the Australians for 190 in 46.1 overs.
Early wickets were the key to defending the sub-par total and they were delivered by Shane Bond who got a double break through with the score and 27 and then Tim Southee chipped in at 46. Danger men Brad Haddin, Ricky Ponting then Cameron White were all back in the dressing-room by the seventh over.
The confident stroke-play evident in Hamilton and Auckland was absent from the Australian innings as the BLACKCAPS bowling unit rattled the Australians. When Southee had Adam Voges caught behind for five Australia was in reeling at 42 for four.
Shane Watson was shaping as the rock of the Australian innings but when he was caught by Taylor off Nathan McCullum Australia sunk to 95 for five and this time the BLACKCAPS didn’t take their foot off the throat and kept slowing choking the tourists.
Michael Hussey and James Hopes kept Australia in the game with a 50 run partnership but when Hussey departed for 46 in a batting powerplay the writing was on the wall.
The BLACKCAPS bowlers were all economical but it was the strike power of Bond and Southee that set up the win.
Bond finished with four for 26 while Tim Southee turned in a man of the match performance with four for 36.
Earlier, the BLACKCAPS were in trouble early losing three wickets in the space of 11 runs, when the team was on 21 with Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill then Shanan Stewart departing for a total contribution of 14 runs.
Ross Taylor and Scott Styris steadied with a 53 run stand before Taylor played a loose shot to Shane Watson and was caught on the boundary for 30.
Daniel Vettori and Styris then gave the innings some much needed direction with a partnership of 68 before Styris was bowled for 55 with the score at 153 for five. Vettori (28) lasted another two runs, and it looked like New Zealand was headed for a disastrous sub-two-hundred score.
Again it was the lower order that pulled the BLACKCAPS through to a total of some respectability.
Wicketkeeper batsman Gareth Hopkins hit a busy 26 of 28 deliveries with big hitting Daryl Tuffey reaching the BLACKCAPS second highest total of 36. It was a consolation win for the BLACKCAPS with Australia going into the match with an unassailable lead in the series.
Attention now turns to the much anticipated Test series with the first match starting on Friday 19th March.