Australia has levelled the National Bank Chappell/Hadlee series one-all after edging out the BLACKCAPS by 12 runs in the second One-Day International at Eden Park in Auckland.
The BLACKCAPS fought to the bitter with captain Daniel Vettori leading the charge with miserly bowling, two wickets and a defiant 70.
It was a bad start for the home side who were rocked by the news that key batsman Ross Taylor was ruled out after suffering a hamstring strain. This handed Gareth Hopkins a chance and he also took over the gloves for Brendon McCullum.
Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat with openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin getting Australia off to a steady but unspectacular start with the first 50 coming off 11.2 overs.
Persistant line and length bowling from Daryl Tuffey soon paid off, and with the score at 73, Watson tried one big shot too many and he was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Martin Guptill for 47.
Ricky Ponting came and went quickly after he had a rush of blood to the head and tried slog Vettori over mid-wicket but only managed a top edge that went straight into the hands of Brendon McCullum at short cover to reduce the Australians to 79 for two.
Haddin continued to score at a good rate until on 53 he came down the wicket to Vettori and drove powerfully, only for Vettori to put his left hand out and take a one handed screamer.
Shane Bond came back into the attack and had instant success, with Michael Clarke caught for 11 to leave the tourists floundering at 116 for four.
Australia took the next ten overs to consolidate, with Michael Hussey and Cameron White steadying the innings with a useful 95 run partnership.
But the ebb and flow continued as they both fell in quick succession with White the first to go when he tried to hoist Franklin over the long on boundary but was well caught by Brendon McCullum. Hussey then fell on 56 when he was caught by McCullum, this time Nathan, off the bowling of Bond and Australia were 238 for six.
It was then on the shoulders of Australia’s lower order to push them through to a good total and James Hopes (29) and Mitchell Johnson(16*) were up to the task, boosting the total to 273 for seven in their 50 overs.
Bond was the best of the bowling attack taking two for 42 while Vettori captured two for 43.
The BLACKCAPS set about their task of chasing 274 for victory with Brendon McCullum treating the crowd to a quick 24 (off 15 balls) before a superb one handed catch by Brad Haddin ended his innings with the score on 27.
Australia kept plugging away and were rewarded when Peter Ingram (14) and Neil Broom (0) were both given out LBW in consecutive Ryan Harris deliveries to put the BLACKCAPS on the back foot at 43 for three.
The Duckworth Lewis system came into play after a rain interruption and the loss of quick wickets didn't help the BLACKCAPS cause with the revised total being 266 from 45 overs.
James Franklin, who left the field injured in the first innings, didn’t last long after the rain interruption - caught behind off the bowling of Johnson to leave the BLACKCAPS struggling at 46 for four.
Local star Scott Styris came to the crease with the crowd giving him loud cheer and hoping he could repeat the heroics of three nights ago.
Along with Guptill they went about resurrecting the innings but just as they were regaining some ascendancy Guptill edged a Shane Watson delivery to the keeper for 18.
Styris continued his good form, stroking a fluent 46 but got out softly when he lobbed a Nathan Hauritz delivery straight to Ponting.
Another BLACKCAP got a start but couldn’t kick on, this time it was Gareth Hopkins. The wicketkeeper batsman looked good for 35 but the team needed a innings of substance if they were going to threaten the target.
Hopkins departure left the BLACKCAPS needing 100 from just over 12 overs with only 3 wickets in hand.
With Vettori at still at the crease a victory still looked possible as he raced to 50 off just 34 deliveries but he was running out of partners. Tuffey hit a brisk 20 before Bond fell for 6.
This left the BLACKCAPS captain and Tim Southee needing 28 to win. Runs weren’t going to be an issue it was wickets in hand that was the problem and with just 13 required to win Vettori was bowled to hand Australia a 12 run win.