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Australia won by 7 wickets.

Australia vs New Zealand

Ponting leads Aussie stroll

New Zealand have no answer to hosts' aggressive batting

Ponting: 24th ODI hundred

Ricky Ponting's century allowed Australia to chase down a target of 255 with 7.3 overs to spare in the opening match of the Chappell-Hadlee series against New Zealand.

Ponting finished unbeaten on 107 to lead his side to a comfortable seven-wicket success under floodlights at the Adelaide Oval.

New Zealand totalled 254-7 after opting to bat first with Brendon McCullum's 96 leading the way.

But the visiting bowling attack had no answer to a savage 51 from Adam Gilchrist that eased the pressure on the batsmen who followed.

Fast start

The tone of the run chase was set during an opening partnership of 69 in less than seven overs between Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden.

Hayden (17) chipped a tame return catch to Kyle Mills to end the stand, but Gilchrist continued to score freely on his way to a 26-ball half-century.

And although he then holed out off Chris Martin's (1-52) bowling for 51, the pace of the early scoring allowed Ponting and Michael Clarke to take their time during a third-wicket partnership of 135, which was constructed either side of a 48-minute rain delay.

Clarke became Mills' (2-68) second victim for 48, but Ponting and Andrew Symonds (28no) saw the hosts home with few alarms.

Magnificent McCullum

Earlier, McCullum and Ross Taylor both made half-centuries to justify New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori's decision to bat first.

McCullum struck 96 from 103 balls at the top of the order, while Taylor's 50 featured one four and three sixes.

After the early loss of opening partner Lou Vincent (5), McCullum dominated a 99-run, second-wicket stand with Jamie How.

How (20) and Scott Styris (5) were removed in quick succession by Shaun Tait (3-59), but McCullum's blade was flowing by that stage and he was joined by Taylor in a 52-run alliance.

McCullum fell four short of century when he holed out to give left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg his only wicket and leave New Zealand on 175-4 in the 36th over.

But Taylor bludgeoned a 52-ball fifty to ensure the Black Caps' momentum was maintained before he was undone by Brett Lee's (2-48) return to the bowling crease.

Jacob Oram's 32 not out guided New Zealand to a what appeared a respectable final total until Gilchrist and Ponting went to work.

The three-match series continues with the second instalment at the SCG on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 2 from 3am (GMT).

Match Details

14th Dec 2007
M R Benson and S J Davis

australia BATTING CARD

Batsman R
Gilchrist c Taylor b Martin 51
Hayden c Mills 17
Ponting not out 107
Clarke c Vincent b Mills 48
Symonds not out 28
Extras 3nb, 1w 4
Total 42.3 Overs 255 - 3
Full Batting Card

new zealand BOWLING CARD

Bowler O M R W
Full Bowling Card