Katich thwarts Kiwis charge
Simon Katich stands between New Zealand and a dramatic opening Test win after Australia crumbled to 131-6 on day two.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 22/11/08 8:27am
First Test Match
Australia 214 (M J Clarke 98, T G Southee 4-63) & 131-6 (S M Katich 67 no) v New Zealand 156 (M G Johnson 4-30)
Simon Katich stands between New Zealand and a dramatic opening Test win, the Australia opener reaching stumps unbeaten on 66 as the hosts crumbled to 131-6 on day two.
A total of 16 wickets fell on a dramatic day in Brisbane, four of which going to Mitchell Johnson after the Aussie quick had helped reduce his trans-Tasmanian opponents to 156 all out.
With the efficient bowling display giving Australia a slender, yet useful, 58-run lead, New Zealand produced an inspired fightback before stumps - Chris Martin taking three wickets to silence the Gabba crowd.
However, with Katich at the crease, Australia still remain slight favourites and will be determined to bat on for as long as possible on day three as they attempt to build on their 189-run lead.
New Zealand had resumed the day on 7-0 but suffered the worst possible start when opener Aaron Redmond edged the first ball of the day from Stuart Clark to Ricky Ponting, who made a diving catch at second slip.
At the other end, a cautious Jamie How had attempted to see off the new ball but was removed in the 15th over having made 14 when he was bowled by a swinging delivery from Brett Lee.
Jesse Ryder then tried to up the tempo and cracked five boundaries in his knock of 30 but came unstuck when he attempted another ill-judged cut shot, this time off Shane Watson, and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin comfortably pouched the chance.
Australia struck an important blow shortly afterwards when Johnson brought about the end of danger man Brendon McCullum for eight to leave the tourists floundering on 73-4.
Ross Taylor set about repairing the damage in impressive fashion, stroking seven boundaries in his knock of 40 that came off 51 balls before being dismissed by Lee straight after lunch.
A fired-up Johnson blitzed through New Zealand's brittle middle-order as he picked up Daniel Vettori (2), Tim Southee (0) and Iain O'Brien (1) in quick succession.
Clark wrapped up the disappointing Black Caps innings and finished with figures of 2-42 when he yorked Martin.
Australia, buoyed by a lead of 58 runs, made an equally dreadful start to their innings as Matthew Hayden (0) nicked a beauty from Martin through to McCullum.
Katich and Ponting began to steady the ship, however the Aussie skipper was then guilty of miscuing his usually devastating pull-shot and Redmond snaffled a skier.
40-2 became 40-3 four balls later as the unfortunate Mike Hussey was adjudged to have edged through to McCullum off Iain O'Brien, although footage suggested the ball clipped his pad.
With the momentum well and truly with New Zealand, Redmond produced a superb piece of athleticism and accuracy to swoop at square leg and throw down the stumps to dismiss Michael Clarke for nine.
Andrew Symonds and Katich added 56 for the fifth wicket only for Martin to bring an abrupt end to the partnership by finding the former's edge - McCullum claiming comfortably to pouch his seventh catch of the match.
With a dramatic final session drawing to a close, there was still time for one more wicket as Martin struck Shane Watson in front to leave Australia on 131-6 and the game intriguingly poised heading into day three.