Monday 24 March 2008 

Panesar And Broad Leave New Zealand Struggling

England 253 (Pietersen 129) & 467-7 declared (Strauss 177, I Bell 110) v
New Zealand 168 (Fleming 59, Sidebottom 7-47) & 222-5 (M Bell 69)

Three-match series level at 1-1

England finally declared their second innings on 467 for seven on day four of the decisive third Test against New Zealand in Napier, before Monty Panesar took three wickets and Stuart Broad to leave the hosts on 222 for five in pursuit of a world record of 553 to win.

Andrew Strauss added just four runs to his overnight 173 before he was caught by Matthew Bell of off Jeetan Patel looking for a big shot over the infield. There was to be no Test double century for the left-hander but he had at least beaten his previous highest first-class score by one and almost certainly booked his place in the side for New Zealand's return visit of England in the summer.

Surprisingly, England captain Michael Vaughan opted not to declare with the fall of Strauss, or Tim Ambrose (31) who was caught and bowled by Dan Vettori. Instead, Nottinghamshire pair Stuart Broad, who was unbeaten on 31 and Ryan Sidebottom, on 12, were allowed to add 42 quick runs before they were called in.

New Zealand made steady progress, adding 48 runs in 20 overs for the first wicket before Panesar had Jamie How trapped in front for 11. Matthew Bell (69) then combined with Stephen Fleming (66) to add 99 for the second wicket before Bell was caught by Broad off of Panesar. Fleming's last act in Test cricket came to and end when he was caught behind by Tim Ambrose as Panesar took the first three wickets to fall.

His stated aims before the match were to hit a tenth Test century, which he was unable to do, and finish with an average of over 40, which, by just 0.06 of a run, he has managed.

Mathew Sinclair's poor form continued when he was caught by Ambrose off of Broad for six while the final wicket in the day was Grant Elliot, caught by Ian Bell off the same bowler. At 172 for five, New Zealand were on the ropes but a counter-attacking 50 partnership between Ross Taylor (34 not out) and Brendon McCullum (24 not out) has kept their slender hopes alive, although more likely they have merely delayed the inevitable for another day or so.

Broad paid tribute to his team-mates for their fine performance, not just in this match, but in Wellington as England responded to going 1-0 down with a fine win.

"To obviously win a Test match series away is very hard," Broad told reporters. "It'll be magic and the squad know that, so they will come out tomorrow fighting.

"Going 1-0 down was tough but we have showed a lot of character to come back and be in this position - five wickets to win a Test match and a series.

"We'll come back tomorrow fresh and strong and try to do that."

© Cricket World 2008