Aussies hope to end losing streak in NZ - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussies hope to end losing streak in NZ

By Daniel Brettig 20/02/2007 05:46:31 AM Comments (0)

Along with the wider goal of a drought-breaking victory for Australia in the third and final Chappell-Hadlee match at Seddon Park on Tuesday, batsman Brad Hodge would also be grateful for a third opportunity to pass three figures.

After being stranded on 99 not out and 97 not out in two of his past three innings against New Zealand, Hodge can be forgiven for thinking he is due for that handful of extra runs.

"It's better to be one shot from a hundred than a couple of ducks I suppose, it's just a nice feeling to try to achieve something and contribute to the Australian cricket team," he said.

"Personal milestones are great and I'd love to make a hundred in the one day game and I'm sure I'll get an opportunity."

Hodge's two near misses were contrasting affairs in terms of match result, the 99 guiding the team home in front of an appreciative home crowd at the MCG, but the 97 becoming merely a footnote in the Kiwis' eventual chase of 337 for victory.

"It's okay if you win, but when you lose..." Hodge said, his voice trailing off.

"That was a great feeling in Melbourne, but it was a little bit of disappointment in Auckland when you feel like you've contributed to the side's cause and a few hours later it feels like a waste of time.

The Australians remain in fairly good spirits after a quartet of demoralising defeats, although their focus and energy levels at the end of a demanding January/February schedule are not where they should be.

In addition to some more runs from Hodge, the team will most urgently seek some improved efforts by the bowling attack, aware that the current group of Shaun Tait, Glenn McGrath, Nathan Bracken, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Hogg and Shane Watson are the core of the group that will need to perform to a high standard at the World Cup.

Teams

AUSTRALIA: (from) Michael Hussey (capt), Matthew Hayden, Phil Jaques, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn McGrath, Shane Watson, Cameron White, Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson, Adam Voges.

NEW ZEALAND: Stephen Fleming (captain), Jeetan Patel, Daryl Tuffey, James Franklin, Mark Gillespie, Brendon McCullum, Craig McMillan, Peter Fulton, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor (12th man tba).

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