| GEO Sports|
| Australia beat Kiwis in third ODI to keep series alive|
| Updated at: 1941 PST, Sunday, February 08, 2009|
SYDNEY: Australia have kept the Chappell-Hadlee series alive after defeating New Zealand by 32 runs in the third one-day international at the SCG.
Set a massive 302 to win their third straight match against Australia, the Black Caps looked dead and buried when they slumped to 183 for seven in the 37th over.
However, a frenetic 69-run partnership between century-maker Grant Elliott (115) and Brendon McCullum (36), batting with a shoulder injury, threatened to steal the match.
Elliott's dismissal in the 45th over ended the New Zealand fightback, allowing a relieved Australia to claim a desperately-needed victory after five successive defeats.
The Kiwis, bowled out for 269 in the 48th over, lead the series 2-1 heading into game four in Adelaide on Tuesday.
McCullum's injury added to a testing night for the Kiwis, who struggled to keep pace with Australia for most of the match after winning the toss and asking their hosts to bat.
Brad Haddin's first century at ODI level underpinned Australia's imposing target, the Black Caps' chase beginning poorly.
After sliding to 16 for two in the sixth over, losing Martin Guptill (six) and Ross Taylor (four), Elliott and Peter Fulton (40) repaired some of the early damage with a stand of 80 for the third wicket.
But Fulton's departure just before the halfway mark put the Black Caps back in trouble.
Wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals - Neil Broom (15), Mills (two), Daniel Vettori (two) and Tim Southee (17) departing in quick succession.
Elliott and McCullum, batting at No 9 due to his injury, gave Australia a massive scare before James Hopes, who finished with figures of 2 for 49, returned to the attack to remove Elliott, caught at deep mid-wicket by Michael Hussey.
The South African-born Elliott faced 124 balls in racking up his first one-day international ton, striking eight boundaries.
McCullum departed soon after to extinguish any thought of a comeback.
Earlier in the day, Haddin blasted eight fours and three sixes in an entertaining 114-ball stay to give the hosts every chance of keeping the series alive after they dropped the opening two matches.
Haddin, promoted to the top of the order, raised his arms in triumph after bringing up the three figures with a sharp single.
He was eventually dismissed in the 38th over, run out by McCullum after attempting to pinch a single.
A bright 62-run partnership between Callum Ferguson (28 off 23 balls) and Michael Hussey (51 off 32) late in the innings ensured Australia topped 300.