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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 June, 2004, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
A thrilling England win
Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

A captivating day of Test cricket produced a thrilling victory for England, who completed their first 3-0 whitewash since 1978.

Having been impossible to call throughout, England were eventually steered home by Graham Thorpe whose innings of 104 must rate as one of his very best.

Seven wickets fell before lunch, suggesting the pitch was now playing tricks.

But, in fact, one was due to another poor umpiring decision by the unfortunate Simon Taufel, who must have been desperate for this game to end, and the rest was the result of twitchy New Zealand batting.

They lost five wickets for 28 in 20 overs during the morning, as Steve Harmison and Ashley Giles both bowled with great control.

Harmison's rapid development continues at a quite startling rate, and he claimed 2-7 from eight overs, while Giles' two wickets gave him the fine figures of 4-46 - his second best return in England.

England's openers came out to chase 284 in a manner which suggested they wanted to finish the game on Sunday.

But, in the third over, Andrew Strauss was given out lbw for six to Cairns although it was clear from afar that the ball had pitched outside the leg stump.

Graham Thorpe
Thorpe steered England home with 104 not out
Next over Trescothick tried to find the leg-side boundary for the second time, but chipped a return catch to James Franklin for nine to leave England on 16-2.

Suddenly New Zealand were the favourites again, and their position was greatly strengthened shortly after lunch when Michael Vaughan was trapped lbw by Cairns for 10.

England urgently needed a partnership, and Mark Butcher managed to find his best form of the summer to put on 88 with his Surrey team-mate, Graham Thorpe.

It soon became clear that for England to win, one of them would have to score a century, and when Butcher also fell lbw to Cairns for 59, that responsibility became Thorpe's.

Andrew Flintoff drove a majestic boundary off Cairns, but the New Zealand all-rounder is a canny so-and-so, and a beautifully disguised slower ball was gently driven to a grateful extra cover.

They were still 122 runs from victory, and Geraint Jones gave another display to those who continue to doubt the selectors' wisdom in choosing him, rather than Chris Read, for the one-day series.

He was put down by Scott Styris at slip on six - a chance that might have made all the difference to New Zealand - but then played some excellent drives and cuts, before slicing Franklin to Oram in the gully for 27.

Again, New Zealand had managed to take a wicket just when they needed it, and England still needed 70.

But Giles gave Thorpe excellent support enabling England to claim the extra half hour, and Thorpe to reach his 14th Test century.




SEE ALSO
New Zealand yet to close the door
12 Jun 04  |  Eng v NZ
Late fightback checks New Zealand
10 Jun 04  |  Eng v NZ
New Zealand look to Cairns
09 Jun 04  |  Eng v NZ


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