NZ on backfoot in CWC final

Grant Elliott (AFP)
Grant Elliott (AFP)

Melbourne - A devastating spell by fast-bowling all-rounder James Faulkner allowed Australia to put one hand on a fifth World Cup trophy as New Zealand were skittled for 183 after batting first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

With the fourth-wicket partnership of Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott having rebuilt New Zealand's innings with a 111-run stand, the 24-year-old struck twice in the first over of the second power-play in the 36th over.

Faulkner finessed a slower, wider ball from the back of the hand, coaxing Taylor into a drive which he nicked behind to evergreen wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who pouched a brilliant, one-handed catch diving low and to his right.

The wicket was confirmed after a lengthy review, but upon the resumption of play, Faulkner dismissed Corey Anderson for a second-ball duck with a faster full-length delivery.

From a position of some assurance, New Zealand were suddenly reeling at 150-4, but left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc made things worse by having Luke Ronchi caught behind for a duck in the following over.

Faulkner would cap his game-changing spell by removing Elliott for 83, with another well-disguised slower delivery that teased the bat on the way through to Haddin.

That robbed New Zealand of their last recognised batsman and the tail duly crumbled as shadows crept across the ground.

Faulkner finished with 3-36 from his nine overs, with Australia's left-arm 'Mitchells' Johnson (3-30) and Starc (2-20) also enjoying a fine afternoon.

Faulkner missed the start of the World Cup with a side strain and Australia sweated on the talented all-rounder's fitness through opening matches against England and New Zealand.

Faulkner was absent for the nerve-jangling pool phase loss against the Kiwis in Auckland, but has come back to haunt the team on cricket's biggest stage.

"Pretty good stuff from the boys," Faulkner said in a pitchside interview.

"Pretty good MCG wicket. A little bit slow to start off with. We have worked really hard on our fielding. Outfield is a little quicker than normal.

"There's no reason we can't chase the runs.

"We've been working really hard on our fielding and it was another good performance."


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