Australia on Sunday snapped their five consecutive ODIs losing streak by registering a thrilling 32-run victory over New Zealand in the must-win third tie in Sydney and kept the five-match series alive.
Australia,who were bolstered by the forced return of captain Ricky Ponting,rode on wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s maiden ton (109) to post 301 for nine,after New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori’s inserted them in.
They then bundled out the Kiwis for 269 in 47.3 overs to notch up their first win of the series and make the scoreline 2-1.
The home team,though,had to survive some anxious moments with Grant Elliott (115) almost single-handedly threatening to win the match for New Zealand with a superb crunch-time maiden hundred only to fail near the finishing line.
Chasing a target of 302 to seal the series,New Zealand started their reply disastrously and by the sixth over they were two down for 16.
But Elliott,with some initial help from opener Peter Fulton (63-ball 40),carried the Kiwi innings to 225 for seven at the end of the 40th over.
Needing 77 runs from the last 10 overs with three wickets in hand,it looked like Australia would suffer their back-to-back ODI series loss,but Elliott’s dismissal off James Hopes in the 45th over settled the issue and the Kiwi innings folded at 269 in 47.3 overs.
Elliott,who came in the sixth over when his side was 16 for two,made his 115 from 125 balls with the help of eight fours.
For Australia,Nathan Bracken,Ben Hilfenhaus,James Hopes and Cameron White shared the spoils with two wickets apiece.
Earlier,the home team tinkered with the opening combination for the second time in the series with Haddin replacing David Warner at the top but that proved a masterstroke as the wicketkeeper blasted a 114-ball 109.
Haddin,who got promotion from the number three in the last match,was in great touch today hitting eight four sand three sixes in his knock.
Vice-captain Michael Clarke’s promotion to the top order also yielded results for the second time as he made a 64-ball 69 as the home team made a rollicking start with a 135-run opening wicket stand in pressure situation.
Clarke had made 98 in the second match in Melbourne on Friday though for a losing cause.
Ponting,who volunteered to come back in Sunday’s match after his side trailed 0-2 in the five-match series,could contribute only 16.
Australia faced hiccups in the middle overs losing three wickets in seven overs and slumping from 169 for two to 212 for five.
But Mike Hussey’s quickfire 32-ball 51 and Callum Ferguson’s 23-ball 28 saw the home team cross the 300-run mark,their best score of the series so far after batting first for the third time in a row.
Pacer Iain O’Brien was the most successful Kiwi bowler by taking 3 for 68 while Kyle Mills and Elliott took two wickets apiece.
The two sides now play their fourth match in Adelaide on Tuesday.