In a match interrupted by rain again and again, in a match where not even 2 innings were completed, Australia and New Zealand added excitement to the match by declaring twice on the final day. It was first New Zealand who declared after they avoiding follow-on and then Steve Waugh-led Australia declared setting New Zealand 284 runs in 57 overs of remaining play post hosts’ declaration at 84-2, scoring at exactly 6 an over.
The match went from a tame draw to a classic in a matter of a few hours on the final day of the first Test between Australia and New Zealand at The Gabba, on November 12, 2001. It required a sporting declaration from both Australia and New Zealand to see a result in the Test. Despite this, the match ended in a draw with New Zealand falling 10 runs short of their target despite their best efforts. New Zealand first needed to reach a place where they felt they cannot lose the match from and then started going for the target. New Zealand needed to score at close to 5 per over to win the match in the stipulated overs.
Black Caps opener Mark Richardson led from the front with a fifty, but it was his the partnership between Nathan Astle and skipper Stephen Fleming that set up the match. They put on 100 off just 111 deliveries which laid the platform for a possible win. After Astle was dismissed for 49 and Fleming run out for 57, the match was again back in the balance. When Fleming departed, New Zealand still needed 71 off 53 deliveries. The onus on getting these runs was going to be solely on Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan and Adam Parore. Cairns was in good touch right from the beginning and looked to take New Zealand home before he fell for 43 off 38, with still 20 runs away from a victory — they had just 10 balls to get it in.
The last 10 balls of the innings did not yield a single boundary and as a result, New Zealand managed to score just 10 from them. New Zealand fell agonisingly short of what would have been an incredible win.
What happened next?
The next two matches at Hobart and Perth too ended in a draw.
South Africa joined the teams as part of the ODI tri-series and ended up winning the series.
Australia 486-9 decl (Matthew Hayden 136, Adam Gilchrist 118; Chris Cairns 5-146, Craig McMillan 3-65) & 84-2 decl (Ricky Ponting 32*, Adam Gilchrist 20) drew with New Zealand 287-8 decl (Nathan Astle 66, Chris Cairns 61; Brett Lee 5-67, Jason Gillespie 3-56) & 274-6 (Mark Richardson 57, Stephen Fleming 57; Shane Warne 3-89, Brett Lee 1-53).
Player of the match: Brett Lee