Marcus Stoinis belted a remarkable maiden ODI ton in Auckland on Monday but couldn’t stop Australia suffering a dramatic six-run loss to New Zealand.
The hosts, sent in by stand-in skipper Aaron Finch, recovered from 5-134 to post a total of 9-286 at Eden Park.
Australia collapsed to 6-67 in response and victory proved elusive despite the best efforts of Stoinis, whose composed and brutal 146 not out – in which he hammered 11 sixes – ensured there would be a nail-biting finish.
Stoinis top-scored as his side were all out for 280. He shared a final-wicket stand of 54 runs with Josh Hazlewood, who didn’t face a single delivery.
The gripping contest ended when Hazlewood was run out by Kane Williamson, who dropped a catch when the allrounder was on 91 then missed a relatively simple chance to run him out on 127.
Stoinis starred with bat and ball.
The 27-year-old, whose first-class bowling average is almost 50, took control of the contest by claiming three key wickets including Williamson and Martin Guptill.
But he and the tail were left with too much work to do with the bat after a terrible collapse.
The absence of Steve Smith, David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Matthew Wade, who was set to captain Australia but suffered back spasms and failed a pre-match fitness test, was glaring.
The three-match series continues in Napier on Thursday, with the visitors upbeat Wade will be fit to play.
Wade’s setback paved the way for recalled opener Finch to captain, while Sam Heazlett made his international debut at age 21 prior to playing a single 50-over game for Queensland.
Heazlett, one of express paceman Lockie Ferguson’s two victims, was caught behind on four.
The rot started in front of a lively crowd of 27,911 when Finch and Travis Head were both needlessly caught in the fourth over. Glenn Maxwell and Shaun Marsh were the only members of the top six to reach double figures.
The Wallabies’ woes at Eden Park are well known but it has also proven a miserable hunting ground for Australia’s cricket side in recent years.
They slipped to 9-106 during a loss to the Black Caps at the venue in the 2015 World Cup.
Smith’s side returned the following year for an ODI and folded in remarkably similar fashion, slumping to 6-41 in an innings that lasted just 24.2 overs.
Stoinis made a mockery of the carnage to push his side beyond 200 on Monday.
The top-order trouble would have provided Darren Lehmann an unwanted sense of deja vu, while the coach will also be bothered by his side’s bowling in the second half of NZ’s innings.
Neil Broom (73) and James Neesham (48) rallied for the hosts after Stoinis’ three wickets.