Sunday 23 March 2008 

Sidebottom And Broad Put England In The Driving Seat

England 253 (Pietersen 129, Southee 5-55) & 91-2 (Strauss 42no)
New Zealand 168 (Fleming 59, Sidebottom 7-47)

Three-match series level at 1-1

Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad took all ten New Zealand first innings wickets between them as England bowled themselves into a position of strength on the second day of the third and final Test in Napier.

Resuming their innings on 240 for seven, Broad (42) was dismissed without adding to his overnight score and England were dismissed for 253. New Zealand were then shot out for 168 with England closing on 91 for two.

Teenager Tim Southee finished with figures of five for 55 in England's innings as Sidebottom (18), Monty Panesar (one), and James Anderson (nought not out) completed the tourist's card. Kevin Pietersen hit 129 on day one. New Zealand only needed 4.1 overs to wrap up the tail with Broad departing first ball, caught behind by Brendon McCullum before Panesar was bowled by Chris Martin and Sidebottom was caught by Matthew Bell at mid-on.

New Zealand lost a wicket to the third ball of their innings when Sidebottom had Matthew Bell trapped in front for a duck but hit back with Jamie How (44) and Stephen Fleming (59), in his penultimate Test innings, adding a century partnership for the second wicket. Fleming looked in supreme touch, hammering James Anderson for three fours and a six in consecutive balls as he looked to sign off in style.

Anderson enjoyed a torrid time of things, leaking 54 runs in seven overs and seeing Andrew Strauss put down Fleming before he had made his half-century as New Zealand went to lunch on 93 for one and looking in command.

That changed after the break, as both Fleming and How were dismissed by Sidebottom, who bowled unchanged between lunch and tea, within six overs of each other. Fleming played one shot too many, edging to Paul Collingwood at second slip after facing 72 balls for his 59. How chased a wide one and gave Strauss the opportunity to atone for his earlier drop and the Middlesex made no mistake second time round at first slip.

Wickets then proceeded to fall at an alarming rate from the point of view of the home side as New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for just 52 runs.

Ross Taylor could only edge a beautiful outswinging delivery from Stuart Broad to Tim Ambrose for two, Mathew Sinclair (seven) played a horrible shot straight into the hands of Broad at mid-on as England fought their way back into the match.

Brendon McCullum played his natural game, playing a shot a ball for his nine before Sidebottom hit the top of off stump from round the wicket. One run later, Sidebottom had Grant Elliot (six) nicking through to Tim Ambrose for a simple catch.

Daniel Vettori (14), caught by Alastair Cook at slip, was Sidebottom's final wicket as he finished with career-best figures of seven for 47 while Broad nipped out Tim Southee (five) and Jeetan Patel (four) who offered simple catches to Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar respectively.

Broad finished with three for 54 as England secured a first innings lead of 85, which they extended to 176 by stumps with careful batting.

England slipped to five for one when Michael Vaughan was caught by McCullum off of Chris Martin for four essaying a huge shot over midwicket that he could only edge behind. Alastair Cook hit seven fours in an innings of 37, adding 72 with Strauss before edging Patel to McCullum.

Strauss is unbeaten on 42 overnight while Kevin Pietersen has seven.

Sidebottom paid tribute to a lunchtime chat that he said had inspired his side to stop New Zealand getting back into the game.

"I think when you're taking wickets, the adrenaline keeps you going. I don't think I've bowled a session before," he said.

"We didn't have a telling off but we did have a get together and said we needed to pull our fingers out because the match was slipping away," he said of their lunch meeting.

"You don't expect it to go so well but I think we pulled it together as a team.

How, meanwhile, who shared in the century stand which threatened to put England on the back foot, was disappointed with his side's showing.

"It was some really bad batting," he said. "They weren't great shots today and maybe were we too aggressive.

"There were too many soft dismissals today and there is a lot of batsmen in the shed not too happy with how they went.

"While we are really disappointed with our batting today we are still in the game if we put in a good bowling performance we back ourselves to chase anything on what will still be a good deck."

The series is level at 1-1 after New Zealand won in Hamilton and England hit back in Wellington.

� Cricket World 2008

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