Second Test, Old Trafford (day one, close) New Zealand 202-4
By Ben Dirs
New Zealand's Ross Taylor made 67 from 75 balls
Ross Taylor struck an unbeaten 67 as New Zealand made 202-4 before bad light ended play after just 54 overs on day one of the second Test at Old Trafford.
Taylor and Jacob Oram (22 not out) steadied things after England had taken four wickets either side of lunch.
Ryan Sidebottom (2-33) did the damage after the openers had put on 80 for the first wicket, with Jamie How making 64.
Batsman Daniel Flynn also had to retire hurt after having a tooth knocked out by a James Anderson bouncer.
Black Caps skipper Daniel Vettori, ignoring the overcast conditions and deciding there were no gremlins in the Old Trafford track, had elected to bat after winning the toss.
The tourists made one change from the side that drew the first Test at Lord's, bringing in seamer Ian O'Brien for his seventh Test in place of Tim Southee, who has a stomach virus.
The game also saw the return of controversial umpire Darrell Hair, recalled for his first Test since the forfeited match between England and Pakistan at The Oval in 2006.
And the Australian was called into action early in the day, rejecting a big lbw shout from Sidebottom against the right-handed How.
Aaron Redmond edged Anderson through the slip cordon in the sixth over and How sliced Sidebottom over the top shortly after, but otherwise the New Zealand openers looked solid in the opening half an hour.
So solid in fact that Monty Panesar, the taker of 18 wickets in his two Old Trafford Tests, was wheeled into the attack by England skipper Michael Vaughan after only nine overs.
Panesar, giving the ball some extra flight, had a raucous leg before against How turned down by umpire Simon Taufel, before Redmond, playing in only his second Test, clubbed the Northamptonshire spinner straight over his head for four.
Panesar, finding plenty of turn, beat the bat a few times in his six overs before lunch and he almost had Redmond caught off a misdirected slog-sweep, but the ball just evaded Stuart Broad at wide mid-on.
How reached his fifty from just 75 balls and it took a fine delivery from Sidebottom to break the stand.
The Nottinghamshire seamer cleverly switched his angles of attack before getting one to nip back and clip Redmond's off-bail and the Otago batsman departed for 28.
Sidebottom then trapped James Marshall in front for a six-ball duck and England, having been frustrated for much of the opening session, would have been happy to take lunch with New Zealand 92-2.
Sidebottom was again the pick of the England bowlers
Anderson, on his home ground, removed How after the restart, the Central Districts man nibbling a catch to Tim Ambrose behind the stumps. How's innings took 110 balls and included seven fours.
McCullum and Ross Taylor decided to hit their way out of trouble, with the latter stroking Anderson for two beautifully-timed fours before the former hoisted Panesar over deep mid-wicket for six.
But Panesar kept his composure, floating one up and tempting McCullum into an airy drive. The ball found the edge, ricocheted off Ambrose's gloves and into the hands of Paul Collingwood at first slip.
Anderson then hit Flynn in the grille with a well-directed bouncer, dislodging a tooth and forcing the youngster to withdraw from the field of play, before striking Oram on the top of the helmet three balls later.
Anderson continued to pepper the lofty Oram, but Taylor was seeing the short ball better than his partner and pulled Anderson into the crowd for one huge six over square leg.
Taylor carried on punishing anything loose from Anderson, carving him through point for four before moving to his fourth Test fifty from just 52 balls with another savage cut.
Players took an early tea as the rain moved in and Oram looked a lot more secure after the restart, hitting Panesar for two dreamy cover-drives from consecutive deliveries.
However, the players went off for bad light at 1559 BST, and with conditions deteriorating over the next couple of hours, failed to reappear. Taylor had made 67 from just 75 balls, Oram, a centurion at Lord's, 22 from 46.
As for Hair, it was a largely uneventful return to Test cricket, in marked contrast to his last appearance on the biggest stage 20 months ago.
England: Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Michael Vaughan (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Tim Ambrose (wk), Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, James Anderson.
New Zealand: Aaron Redmond, Jamie How, James Marshall, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (wk), Daniel Flynn, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori (capt), Kyle Mills, Iain O'Brien, Chris Martin.
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