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Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 18:26 UK

Redmond ton boosts Test prospects

Rose Bowl, day two of four: England Lions 280 v New Zealand 261-9

Aaron Redmond in action for New Zealand
Redmond's previous best score was 135 not out

Opener Aaron Redmond strengthened his claims for a Test debut at Lord's with a career-best 139 not out against England Lions at the Rose Bowl.

The 28-year-old hit 22 boundaries from 266 balls, helping the tourists to 261-9 at stumps on day two, 19 runs adrift of the Lions' first innings.

Redmond shared a 77-run fourth-wicket stand with Brendan McCullum (43).

Matthew Hoggard collected three wickets, while Chris Tremlett (3-58) was the pick of the Lions seamers.

The strapping Hampshire fast bowler troubled New Zealand's top order, exploiting the steep bounce at pace on offer on his home wicket.

His robust performance was made the more significant with the attendance of England selector James Whitaker, who will also have noted Hoggard's lack of penetration with the new ball.

Opening partner Graham Onions gave the Lions the ideal start to day two, trapping Jamie How lbw with his second delivery.

The ineffectual Hoggard was soon replaced by Tremlett, who immediately repaid captain Rob Key's faith with two wickets, dismissing James Marshall (10) and the dangerous Ross Taylor (5), leaving the tourists reeling at 47-3.

But Redmond and McCullum - leading New Zealand in Daniel Vettori's absence - steadied the innings, with the stand-in captain in particularly impressive form.

McCullum's 47-ball innings was curtailed seven runs short of a deserved 50 when he stalled running for a quick single, with Michael Carberry's direct hit catching him out of his ground.

However, the dismissal strengthened Redmond's resolve as he reached half century, as well as surviving a rap to the helmet from a hostile Tremlett bouncer.

England should have dismissed him three runs short of his century, but Graeme Swann grassed a regulation catch at second slip off Onions.

And Redmond compounded Swann's error by passing his previous best first-class score of 135 to put New Zealand on course for a first innings lead.

"I wanted to bat through the whole day and to do that is quite an achievement so I'm pretty pleased with that.

"I copped a few but that's all part and parcel of being an opener. Every now and then you're going to get one that goes past your face but the good thing was they continued to bowl like that so it was good practice," Redmond said afterwards.

The second new ball offered more assistance to Hoggard, who had to wait until the 85th over for his first wicket of the day when Jeetan Patel edged to second slip.

The Yorkshireman dismissed Tim Southee and Iain O'Brien in quick succession, leaving Chris Martin at the crease at stumps.

see also
Wright on cue after Kiwis impress
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Focused Wright rejects IPL offer
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Mason sets up tour win for Kiwis
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Hoggard included in Lions squad
29 Apr 08 |  England
Kiwis set Essex final day chase
04 May 08 |  Cricket
Injury scare for skipper Vettori
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Cook suffers finger injury blow
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Rain wipes out Kiwi tour warm-up
30 Apr 08 |  Cricket
New Zealand in England in 2008
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