Aussies place Kiwis on backfoot, hosts battling to draw Hamilton Test

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Hamilton (New Zealand), Mar.30 (ANI): Chasing a mammoth 479 to win, New Zealand limped to stumps on the fourth day on 185 for five in the second Test against Australia on a still friendly Seddon Park pitch today.

Wellington century maker McCullum, 19 not out, and Guptill, 29 not out, have to survive another 94 overs on Thursday with next man Jeetan Patel ushering in a long New Zealand tail.

Earlier, Australian captain Ricky Ponting declared at lunch on 511 for eight, leaving New Zealand a minimum 153 overs to reach their lofty target.

All the Kiwi batsmen got starts but annoyingly perished between 18 and 30 as left-arm speedster Mitchell Johnson caused big headaches while cohorts Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris were seen off.

Johnson became the fastest left-armer to reach 150 wickets, in 34 tests, when he cut through Tim McIntosh, on 19, with a 150 kmh thunderbolt.

He removed BJ Watling for 24 to a loose drive then claimed the big scalp of Ross Taylor, who pushed at a wide one on 22 and gave Brad Haddin his second catch.

Recalled No 3 Mathew Sinclair looked composed in his 29 in 103 minutes, but also departed softly when left-arm tweaker Michael Clarke trapped him lbw to a straight delivery.

Captain Daniel Vettori hit a brisk 22 before an ambitious sweep of spinner Nathan Hauritz saw him trapped in front.

He challenged Asad Rauf's decision, which television replays took an age to confirm, before a weary Vettori trudged off.

New Zealand arrived today with hopes of some quick wickets and a run chase of around 350, instead they chased leather for 2-1/2 hours as the tourists plundered 178 off 39 overs.

Resuming on 333 for four, a lead of 300, Marcus North and Clarke added 142 for the fifth wicket to bat New Zealand out of the game.

New Zealand's best bowler, Brent Arnel, broke the partnership when he trapped Clarke lbw for 63.

The tall Northern Districts seamer took three for 77 off 26 overs on an unresponsive pitch and ended a solid debut series as one of few in the home side to earn a pass mark.

Vettori went wicketless for his first 40 overs then took two in successive balls; North caught behind down the leg side for 90 and Johnson caught at long-on before Hauritz survived the hat-trick ball.

North hit 70 of his 90 runs in boundaries, before Haddin, 48 off 40, and Hauritz, 41 not out off 62, compounded New Zealand's misery.

The spinners got the treatment, with Vettori ending with two for 140 off 48 and Jeetan Patel one for 141 off 39 including 12 overs for 79 today. (ANI)

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