Commonwealth Games: Men's sprint team grab New Zealand's first gold

Track cyclists have secured New Zealand's first medal of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, with the men's sprint team taking gold at the Anna Meares Velodrome.

The defending Games champions and three-time world champions overcame England in the final, with last rider Eddie Dawkins taking half a second out of his rival over the closing lap.

The Kiwis came into the event under some pressure, after slumping to just sixth at the recent world championships in the Netherlands. They put that performance behind them.

"We went out there trying to raise the bar and we're really happy to produce two performances that were our next fastest after our Rio [Olympics] ride," Sam Webster told TVNZ.

"We caught a lot of flack after the worlds, but we stuck to the programme and produced these two great rides."

New Zealand's time of 42.877s was marginally outside the Games record they set in qualifying. 

Earlier, the NZ women's pursuit combination of Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath lived up to their billing, after qualifying second behind Australia in the afternoon with a time of 4m 22.331s over the 4000m distance.

The Aussies were more than seven seconds faster in the heats and immediately stamped that authority in the final, quickly building a commanding lead.

In winning, the Australian quartet (4m 15.214s) broke the Games record they set in qualifying and eventually caught their outclassed rivals just before the finish line to finish half a lap clear, thus ending the contest early.

The New Zealand women's sprint team repeated that dose of silver, also bowing to Australia in their rideoff, but setting a new national record in the process.