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Thursday, August 19, 1999 Published at 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK


Hussain's new England enjoy day

Welcoming the newcomers: Maddy's catch gives Giddins a wicket

England cricket captain Nasser Hussain's attempted fresh start saw a series of New Zealand wickets fall on the first day in the final Test at the Oval.


BBC's Simon Mann: "England had to be patient for their wickets"
There were times when his patient approach was fended off with some agonisingly slow batting.

But Hussain will have been generally pleased by a day which ended with the tourists 170 for eight after they were put in to bat.


[ image: Rampraskash and Tufnell celebrate a superb short leg catch]
Rampraskash and Tufnell celebrate a superb short leg catch
The skipper is hoping that this will be the final low point after England's years of decline.

Should they lose this match they can get no worse, at least in the eyes of the game's oldest record book.

Defeat would see England fall below the tourists and gain the unofficial title of World's Worst Test Team, according to Wisden's statistics.

With the wooden spoon stakes so high, this was not a spectacular day's Test cricket.

Hard work

The home side's steady progress reflected Hussain's belief that England have a lot to do before they can climb the world rankings.

The morning session was one of frustration after two early run out chances were spurned, but recalled Ronnie Irani ended it with a wicket on his return.

And the afternoon saw five wickets fall for 42 runs as England's patience paid off.


[ image: Caddick deserved more than his 2-36 return]
Caddick deserved more than his 2-36 return
At the start of the final two hours it looked as though the tourists were to be knocked out on the first day when Alan Mullally picked up the second of his two wickets in the second over after tea.

The dismissal was spectacular, with the left-armer producing a fierce inswinger to the right-handed Chris Cairns, which removed the Kiwi all-rounder's middle stump for 11.

But then came another phase of frustration for Hussain and his team before Andrew Caddick made a breakthrough with the new ball.

Dion Nash was the man who joined his skipper Stephen Fleming, and their mini-recovery produced the day's highest partnership of 53.

Caddick certainly deserved his second wicket, and it came when Nash (18) prodded at a short ball and the ball looped to Mark Ramprakash at short leg.


[ image: The run out chance missed in the first over]
The run out chance missed in the first over
Like Hussain, New Zealand skipper Fleming had a good personal day, finishing unbeaten on 52.

But he will have been less happy with his team after gertting a good view of wickets thrown away midway through both the day and the batting order.

Apart from Fleming only opener Matthew Bell got past 20, as England's tight bowling and fielding restricted progress.

Despite the improvement, and perhaps England's best day of the series as a team unit, there will be no celebrations yet.

Early error

The day began with missed chances to seize the initiative, and some of the wickets were gifted, despite some fine bowling.

In the game's first over the nervous Bell attempted an impossible single when Ramprakash fumbled a Hussain throw.


[ image: England worked well as a team after all the changes]
England worked well as a team after all the changes
The Middlesex captain later made up for it with two catches including an excellent short leg chance to remove Adam Parore.

Horne also escaped being run out by Hussain, while a close lbw shout was survived against debutant Ed Giddins.

After the seamers laid the foundations after lunch, it was spinner Tufnell who made a double breakthrough and turned the day decisively England's way.

But Giddins' first Test wicket will be particuarly welcome for Hussain, with fellow new boy Darren Maddy taking a superb slip catch.

With so much criticism about how newcomers are welcomed into the England fold, the dismissal and jubilant reaction afterwards was the picture of the day.





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