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The tie was close all the way, Australia taking the early lead with a win in the mixed doubles to Ben Walklate and Kate Wilson Smith 21-18 21-14 over New Zealanders Henry Tam and Donna Haliday.
Joe Wu levelled the score for New Zealand with a 21-14 21-9 victory over Boris Ma in the men's singles. However, Wilson-Smith combined with Eugenia Tanaka to put Australia ahead again with a 21-15 21-14 win in the women's doubles over Haliday and Danielle Barry.
Rachel Hindley levelled the scores when she downed Australian Leisha Cooper 21-17 and 21-9 in the women's singles, leaving the fate of the tie with Shirley and Tam in the men's doubles.
Shirley dominated the match with his pace and controlled shots showing the benefit of 63 international caps, his experience lifting Tam as they accounted for Walklate and Glenn Warfe 21-12 21-15.
The New Zealanders are gunning for their seventh successive victory in the Whyte Trophy. Invercargill hosts the remaining two tests on tomorrow and Wednesday.