Australia Under-19s win hard-fought opening match

The Australia Under-19 cricket team today claimed victory in the sole Three-Day match against their New Zealand counterparts at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln, narrowly winning by three wickets.

The visitors successfully chased down their fourth innings target of 207 after 44.5 overs, with Jaron Morgan top-scoring with 72.  Jake Doran hit the winning runs and finished unbeaten on 24 alongside Cameron Valente on 26 not out.

Earlier the visitors had posted a first-innings lead of 35, declaring at 420 for four after 80 overs, largely thanks to centuries from Matthew Short (113) and Sean Willis (111*). New Zealand’s Jack Hunter made the biggest inroads with the ball and finished with figures of two for 55 from 13 overs.

The home side’s second effort with the bat got off to a solid start, with Rakitha Weerasundara (23) and Tim Seifert (97) putting on 78 for the opening wicket. It gave New Zealand a platform to build a big total from, but the next three wickets fell within the space of 18 runs, relinquishing the momentum to Australia.

Seifert continued to march on, but he was losing partners at an alarming rate and was just three runs short of a ton when he himself succumbed in the 54th over.

A late and explosive 33 not out from number 11 Harley Jenkins pushed New Zealand’s lead past 200, but shortly after lunch on day three his side were dismissed for 241, leaving Australia 66 overs to bring up the winning runs.

Their pursuit though was far from smooth sailing, losing three of their top-order early on to be 38 for three.  Opener Morgan steadied the ship somewhat, but the Kiwis continued to take wickets just as the game began to look out of their reach.

However, an unbeaten eighth wicket partnership worth 32 between Valente and Doran thwarted New Zealand’s hopes, with the pair playing assertively to bring up the victory in their first match of the tour.

The wickets were shared amongst the bowlers, with Kyle Jamieson, Dane Watson and Jenkins all taking two wickets apiece.

The series now turns to the One Dayers, with the first of three 50 over matches beginning April 4 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval.

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