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Australia hangs on to beat New Zealand

In reply to Australia's 343/5, the black caps chase valiantly to reach 335/5, falling short by a mere eight runs.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 15:11 IST

Centuries by Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden helped Australia maintain its winning streak with an unexpectedly narrow eight-run victory over a plucky New Zealand in their triangular series one-day international at the WACA Ground on Sunday.

Ponting won the toss and elected to bat in extremely hot conditions. His decision was vindicated as Australia capitalised on New Zealand fielding errors to post the highest score ever in a one-day international at the ground, making 343 for five.

The previous best was the West Indies' 309-6 in 1985, with Hayden and Ponting scoring the first two centuries of the series.

In reply, the Kiwis produced a valiant attempt at an unlikely victory, also eclipsing the old record in making 335 for five.

Recalled Black Caps opener Lou Vincent led the resistance with 66, before falling to a bad umpiring decision when he was adjudged lbw by Asad Rauf even though the ball struck bat rather than pad.

Jacob Oram, who made 86 against England on Friday, then continued his fine form by weighing in with a magnificent 101 not out that was his first one-day international century and included six massive sixes.

Oram faced just 71 balls in reaching his hundred and put on 137 for sixth-wicket with Brendon McCullum (46 not out) as the pair threatened an incredible victory.

However, Australia held on to make it six wins from as many matches in the tri-series and extend their winning streak this summer to 12 games, including Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20.

In the Australian innings, Hayden made the most of some extraordinary good luck to make 117 - his first one-day international hundred in 23 months - and Ponting's 111 was typically assured.

The pair added 200 for the second wicket, also a record for the venue.

Their eyes firmly on Tuesday's crucial game against England, the Black Caps rested opening bowlers Shane Bond and James Franklin at the venue where they would have been most suited, but again didn't help themselves with some shoddy fielding.

Hayden was dropped three times in making his sixth one-day international century, before finally being clean bowled by Daniel Vettori as he attempted another hefty swipe.

Vettori had dropped a sitter off Hayden from the second ball the left-hander faced and before he had scored.

When Hayden was just four, Ross Taylor horribly misjudged a skied pull shot at mid-on and muffed the catch.

The left-hander was also dropped on 79, when substitute fielder Hamish Marshall couldn't hang on to a chance at mid-on.

With his place at the upcoming World Cup in the balance after his previous indifferent form, Hayden made the most of his good fortune, reaching his century from 104 balls with 11 fours.

Ponting, on the other hand, didn't give a chance in notching his 21st one-day international century in 113 balls, with seven fours and one six. He was named man of the match.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming tried seven bowlers with little impact.

Vettori was the only New Zealand bowler spared in the onslaught, with 1-34 from 10 overs.

Oram went for 50 from five overs, Mark Gillespie returned 1-76 from 10 overs and Jeetan Patel finished with 1-67 from his 10 overs.

The Australians put on 101 in the last 10 overs as they hit a string of sixes to gallop past the old record for the ground.

Andrew Symonds made 24 from 13 balls, with two sixes, while local favourite Mike Hussey again finished not out in making 29 from 16 balls.

Hussey cleared the fence three times in his brief stay.