Kiwis triumph as Johnson loses his head

Sydney Morning Herald

Thursday March 4, 2010

Will Swanton

NAPIER: Mitchell Johnson head-butted Scott Styris as Australia's five-year one-day international losing streak in New Zealand continued yesterday.Australia made 8-275 but were unable to defend. Kiwi opener Brendon McCullum again blazed away to make 45 from 43 balls and stand-in skipper Ross Taylor compiled a punishing 70, but Styris was the hero of the two-wicket victory.Under a full moon, the crowd of 8527 at the provincial McLean Park were on their feet when Styris landed the killer blow with only four balls to spare.The hosts had lost captain Daniel Vettori ahead of the game to a neck strain and later Jacob Oram hyper-extended his knee while fielding. Jogging to intercept a gentle push to mid-wicket from Mike Hussey, Oram's spikes stuck in the grass and he crashed to the turf. His predicament left the Kiwis a batsman short, making their successful run chase all the more meritorious.Johnson became angered when Styris hit him for successive boundaries in the 46th over. He went back to his mark and pointed at his head to threaten a bouncer. He pitched up his next ball, and when it went for four he walked down the pitch, exchanging words. Johnson and Styris got in each other's faces before the bowler thrust his head forward. Not that Styris felt any pain - he was wearing a helmet.After ill-feeling from the crowd towards Shane Watson and Shaun Tait in the Twenty20 series, it was Johnson's turn to feel the spectators' wrath.Styris finished with a match-winning 49 off 34 balls, securing the victory by hitting Doug Bollinger for six over long off.Australia's last ODI triumph in New Zealand was a two-run victory at Wellington in 2005.ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle was yet to announce any action against Johnson or Styris, who shook hands after the match, for their heated clash, although clearly Johnson was facing the most strife.McCullum's devil-may-care batting was enthralling before Bollinger unsettled the woodwork with the Kiwi opener on the verge of letting rip, as he did during his Twenty20 century in Christchurch.Taylor looked likely to be the key wicket as he passed his half-century and NZ pursued five runs an over from midway through their chase. Taylor and James Franklin added 69 runs for the fifth wicket, Franklin contributing just 12 as Taylor let rip.Australian off spinner Nathan Hauritz, having expressed reservations about bowling with such short boundaries square of the wicket, again did everything captain Ricky Ponting could ask of him and more, having Franklin caught behind by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin when Australia desperately needed a wicket.Shane Watson took the vital wicket of Taylor, caught on the fence at mid-wicket from a failed pull shot.Earlier Watson had continued his thumping form, sending the first ball from Tim Southee to the fence to suggest all the hoo-ha about Southee was premature.Southee had been feted as some sort of miracle worker after three tight overs at the end of the Kiwi triumph at Christchurch but the visitors put him in his place by taking 66 runs from his eight overs.Hussey top-scored for Australia with 59, while Ponting added 44 on a difficult, two-paced pitch.The Kiwis were expected to struggle chasing under lights against a potent Australian pace attack but a 75-run opening stand between McCullum and Peter Ingram (40 off 41 balls) instilled belief.

© 2010 Sydney Morning Herald

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