NAPIER: After Ross Taylor had held the innings together, Scott Styris helped New Zealand clinch a two-wicket win over Australia in the last over of the first ODI at McLean Park on Wednesday.
Styris, who was drafted into the side after Daniel Vettori pulled out with a stiff neck, ensured stand-in captain Taylor's 71-ball 70 didn't go in vain. Styris (49 n.o., 34b, 7x4, 1x6) and Shane Bond added 35 for the unbroken ninth wicket as New Zealand passed Australia's 275 for eight with four balls to spare.
Styris was involved in a confrontation with Mitchell Johnson who he hit for two fours in the 46th over. But Styris didn't lose his concentration. He smashed Doug Bollinger for a six to help the home side take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Bond played a vital role in the partnership, striking two boundaries in the 49th over and staying with Styris to prevent the injured Jacob Oram from having to bat.
New Zealand's chase was powered by its openers, Brendon McCullum and Peter Ingram, before Taylor, in his first match in charge of New Zealand, played a calm hand even as wickets fell at the other end. Taylor was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match for his effort.
Earlier, Daryl Tuffey (three for 58) and Bond (two for 50) enabled New Zealand restrict Australia. Michael Hussey was the top-scorer with 59. There were contributions from Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting and Cameron White. However, New Zealand prevented Australia from building a match-winning partnership.
Johnson's 11-ball 21 helped Australia add quick runs towards the end of the innings, but it was not enough to clinch a victory for his side. New Zealand's triumphant night was marred by the injury to Oram.
The all-rounder was helped off the field after appearing to have hurt his left knee while fielding.
Australia: S. Watson c Ingram b Oram 45, B. Haddin b Bond 12, R. Ponting c Guptill b Franklin 44, M. Clarke c McCullum b Tuffey 22, C. White b Tuffey 33, M. Hussey b Bond 59, J. Hopes b Southee 33, M. Johnson (not out) 21, N. Hauritz c sub (N. McCullum) b Tuffey 4, R. Harris (not out) 0; Extras (b-1, w-1): 2. Total (for eight wkts. in 50 overs): 275.
Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-58, 3-100, 4-148, 5-172, 6-244, 7-252, 8-268.
New Zealand bowling: Southee 8-0-66-1, Bond 10-1-50-2, Oram 7-0-29-1, Tuffey 10-0-58-3, Franklin 9-0-44-1, Styris 6-0-27-0.
New Zealand: B. McCullum b Bollinger 45, P. Ingram c Hussey b Johnson 40, M. Guptill c Watson b Hopes 9, R. Taylor c Hussey b Watson 70, J. Franklin c Haddin b Hauritz 12, N. Broom b Bollinger 19, S. Styris (not out) 49, D. Tuffey b Harris 12, T. Southee (run out) 2, S. Bond (not out) 11; Extras (lb-10, w-2): 12. Total (for eight wkts. in 49.2 overs): 281.
Fall of wickets: 1-75, 2-90, 3-106, 4-175, 5-204, 6-207, 7-234, 8-246.
Australia bowling: Harris 10-1-57-1, Bollinger 9.2-0-58-2, Johnson 10-1-46-1, Hopes 6-0-40-1, Watson 9-0-47-1, Clarke 2-0-8-0, Hauritz 3-0-15-1 .