Vol. 5 Num 289 Sun. March 20, 2005  

Murderous Martyn

Damien Martyn scored his 12th Test century as he went on a batting rampage with Adam Gilchrist to put Australia at a strong 337 for five at stumps on the second day of the second Test against New Zealand here Saturday.

In an unbroken 90-run partnership from 89 balls they wrested the initiative off New Zealand and plundered the second new-ball attack as Australia piled on 166 runs in the final session.

Australia looked to be teetering at 163 for four before Martyn and Simon Katich added 84 off 20 overs and, following Katich's dismissal, Gilchrist continued the onslaught.

Martyn, who pushed his Test average back over 50, offered two chances -- streaky French cuts in the 30s which just missed the stumps -- before opening up.

"There was definitely something there for their bowlers and luck probably didn't go their way today," he said.

"A couple of catches went down and we played and missed a lot. It could easily have been a different day."

Sent in by Stephen Fleming, Australia faced a torrid first hour of prodigious swing, particularly from Chris Martin in the blustery conditions, but the New Zealand pacemen were not able to take advantage of the conditions.

Instead it took the introduction of spinner Daniel Vettori after 15 overs to bring some luck New Zealand's way when he lured Justin Langer into an attempted sweep shot and the ball ballooned off his gloves to the safe hands of Brendon McCullum.

Langer had been dropped by Fleming off Martin before getting off the mark and had two other nicks off Martin fall just short of the slips cordon, and rode his luck to reach 46 before giving Vettori his 50th Test wicket against Australia.

He struck again in the third over after lunch with the removal of Ricky Ponting for nine.

The Australian captain was struck on the front pad and gave umpire David Shepherd an elementary lbw decision.

A patient Matthew Hayden brought up his half century in 130 balls and moved to 61 before playing an uncharacteristic shot to James Franklin and was caught in covers by Lou Vincent to have Australia at 146 for three.