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Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Sunday, 25 May 2008 18:39 UK

Panesar haul gives England hope

Second Test, Old Trafford (day three, close)
England 202 & 76-1 v New Zealand 381 & 114

By Jamie Lillywhite

Monty Panesar
Panesar brought England back into the match with an inspired spell

Monty Panesar produced his best Test bowling figures of 6-37 as England fought back on an intriguing third day against New Zealand at Old Trafford.

They appeared to have no hope at all after losing their last six wickets for 50 to concede a first innings lead of 179, as Daniel Vettori claimed 5-66.

But Panesar struck twice in an over and reached 100 victims in his 28th Test as the Kiwis stumbled to 114 in reply.

Facing a target of 294, England lost Alastair Cook but were 76-1 at stumps.

For England to have a scent of victory seemed inconceivable for the first half of the third day, again played out in a biting north-easterly wind.

Even when Aaron Redmond drove to gully in the 10th over of the Kiwi second innings there was still a subdued air in the crowd, such was the dominance of New Zealand's position.

No doubt aware of the pressure to deliver given Vettori's success, Panesar was introduced in the 10th over and struck with his 12th delivery when Jamie How was lbw to one which straightened sufficiently.

Although he did achieve some sharp turn, accuracy proved to be his chief weapon.

Having had numerous appeals rejected during the series, Panesar ousted the dangerous Brendon McCullum and first innings centurion Ross Taylor.

Brendon McCullum, Kevin Pietersen
Vettori produced some bounce more often associated with fast bowlers

With Daniel Flynn unable to bat and Jacob Oram suffering from a sore neck, Vettori promoted himself to number six but top-edged a sweep shot to deep square-leg and for the first time in the match New Zealand had lost their way.

Panesar recorded his best Test figures when Mills also top-edged a sweep, and in doing so reached the 100-wicket milestone one match quicker than Vettori.

Although Oram eventually came out, he was soon caught off Ryan Sidebottom, who wrapped up the innings when Iain O'Brien thumped a catch to mid-off.

New Zealand's collapse mirrored that of England in the pre-lunch session.

Kevin Pietersen had an early reprieve when he got an inside edge into his pad and the ball looped to the keeper, but there was virtually no appeal.

It did not prove significant, however, with Pietersen adding just a single before he succumbed almost inevitably prodding forward speculatively to Vettori.

The ball turned perfectly to take the edge and flew through to slip.

O'Brien jagged some deliveries in sharply, and he soon had Ian Bell caught at first slip, Ross Taylor juggling with the catch but holding on.

A hopelessly out of sorts Paul Collingwood trudged back to the pavilion in the next over after having little notion of how to play Vettori, who was often finding dramatic bounce in addition to turn.

The procession continued, Tim Ambrose gave Taylor a third slip catch and Panesar was brilliantly caught by McCullum diving at full stretch low to his left.

After the patient 60 from Andrew Strauss, the only England first innings batsman to emerge with any credit was Stuart Broad, who was positive in defence and quick to seize on run-scoring opportunities.


When Panesar was out, two were still needed to avoid the follow-on but Broad hit some shots through the covers reminiscent of his father on the 1986-7 Ashes tour, before he was last out caught at deep cover.

England's batting was put into context somewhat by New Zealand's effort, and whatever technical frailties may be highlighted, an absorbing finale is in prospect.

New Zealand were hopeful of a more substantial breakthrough in the final 27 overs of play after the stranglehold their bowlers enjoyed during the morning session.

But whether reeling from the shock of being dismissed for their second lowest total at Old Trafford, or anxious about throwing away a winning position, the New Zealand attack was not so effective second time around.

The opening combination of Chris Martin and Kyle Mills was a curious one, given the problems fellow seamer O'Brien had caused earlier in ther day.

And Cook and Andrew Strauss played in an assured manner until Cook was caught at short leg off Vettori for 28.

see also
Panesar tips England to seal win
25 May 08 |  Cricket
England v NZ photos day two
24 May 08 |  England
Kiwis on top as England struggle
24 May 08 |  Cricket
Video warns of cricket danger
24 May 08 |  Cricket
New Zealand in England in 2008
12 May 08 |  Cricket

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