Twin half centuries from David Hussey (79) and elder brother Michael (75 not out) fashioned Australia’s six-wicket victory against New Zealand in the fourth ODI as the hosts recorded their second successive win to level the five-match cricket series 2-2,in Adelaide on Tuesday.
Chasing 245,Australia lost Michael Clarke (14) and Ricky Ponting (15) inside 15 overs but the Hussey brothers and Brad Haddin (43) made useful contributions with the bat as the hosts cruised to 247 for four in 48.2 overs.
Earlier,Ross Taylor’s 71-ball 76 and Martin Guptill’s 70-ball 45 helped New Zealand post a modest 244 for eight in their 50 overs after captain Daniel Vettori had won the toss and decided to bat first.
Both the teams now move to Brisbane for the series decider on Friday.
After Clarke and Ponting,who was rushed into the side for the crucial match,departed without making much of an impact,the onus was on Haddin and David to keep Australia in the chase and they did their job with elan.
Haddin added 43 runs with David before running himself out. The setback,however,could not derail Australia’s chase as the Hussey brothers joined hands to guide the hosts towards victory.
In the next 20 overs,the Hussey brothers raised 115 runs that effectively took the match away from New Zealand. Iain O’Brien denied David his maiden century when the Kiwi pacer castled him in the 45th over but from Australia’s perspective,his 96-ball 79,with six fours came just when the team needed it.
Michael stayed till the end to see the side through and he finished it off in style,hitting a Kyle Mills full-toss for a six. His unbeaten 71-ball 75 included four fours and a couple of sixes.
Earlier after opting to bat first,New Zealand got off to a sedate start. Openers Brendon McCullum (33) and Guptill denied Australia early success but at the same time boundaries were difficult to come by.
Guptill took time before breaking the shackles as he hit Nathan Bracken for a six and hit four boundaries before falling to Mitchell Johnson in the 18th over,having added 69 runs for the opening stand.
It was uncharacteristic batting from McCullum,who could not hit a single four or six before falling to Clarke in the 23rd over.
In between,James Hopes removed Peter Fulton (5) to reduce New Zealand to 86 for three before Taylor and Grant Elliot (26) arrested the slide.
They added 55 runs in the next 11 overs to revive the run rate but Johnson struck again,removing Elliot,to halt their progress.
Craig Cumming (0) and Neil Broom (11) failed to impress either but Taylor found an able partner in Mills (23) and the duo played intelligent cricket to make good use of the batting powerplay.
Mills stunned Johnson by pulling him over square leg for a massive six,while Taylor too struck a couple of over boundaries to swell the tally. Both teams donated their match fees for the victims of the Victorian bush fire.