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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 11:27 GMT
England v NZ - ODI as it happened
England 270-7 beat New Zealand 256-8 by 14 runs

A century from Paul Collingwood inspired England to a 14-run win over New Zealand and a place in the best-of-three final against Australia.

Collingwood, who had not made 50 since 206 in the Adelaide Test, hit 106 and shared 103 from 118 balls with Andrew Strauss (55) in a total of 270-7.

Liam Plunkett bowled five wides in a first over costing 11, but recovered to take 3-60, while Collingwood took 2-46.

Stephen Fleming hit his first ODI ton since 2004 but was the eighth man out.


By Ben Dirs


50th over: NZ 256-8 - ENGLAND WIN BY 14 RUNS
So here we go, it's Sajid to bowl the last over. The first three balls are full and straight and just four runs are scored off them. The fourth is a glorious dot ball and the fifth a wild swipe for a single. The final ball is collected by wicket-keeper Nixon after another play-and-miss, and the wicket-keeper kicks off the celebrations. It's Australia v England in the finals and the first match will be brought to you by me, Oliver Brett, and the inimitable Ben Dirs on live updates duty.

49th over: NZ 251-8
Freddie is pretty good in this situation - the only natural "death" bowler, so to speak, now that Goughie is gone. One run is, however, tossed away with another ridiculous over-throw. But Bond has a licence to hit sixes and he's firing blanks. Franklin's streaky boundary from the last ball means the Kiwis need 19 from the final over to snatch the tie they need.

48th over: NZ 243-8
Well let's hope Ben's transfer to me doesn't result in a diastrous spiral to defeat for England from this rich situation. It's very unlikely, because Mahmood is back and bowling well - that's until an ultra-slow ball from the Lancashire seamer is spotted early and larupped over mid-wicket for four by Franklin. The Kiwis need 27 from two overs for the tie that will take them to the final.

Batsman is out
47th over: WICKET - NZ 233-8
Fleming scampers a single before Franklin rocks back and dabs Flintoff away for four. Nice stroke that. Franklin is beaten by a wicked delivery by Flintoff before the Kiwis get two overthrows, Vaughan with a wild throw at the stumps. But Flemo is gone! The Kiwi skipper flaying wildly at a wide one and Nixon snaffling a sharp catch behind the timbers. Smell my cheese New Zealand. I've got to go in a minute, I'm interviewing Sugar Ray Leonard and the Sugary One waits for no man. Handing over to Oliver Brett...

46th over: WICKET - NZ 224-7
Brilliant shot by Vettori, making room and mowing Collingwood through mid-wicket for four. Vettori misses out on a full-bunger before squeezing one into the off-side for one. Collingwood makes a fine stop off his own bowling to deny Flemo a run but the Kiwi skipper does get one with a paddle round the corner. Vettori perishes, pulling a long-hop straight down Vaughan's throat at mid-wicket. England in the box seat now.

45th over: NZ 212-6
Plunkett keeping it tight...and he castles McCullum with a crackerjack delivery, the ball ricocheting off his pads onto his stumps. England favourites now, although Vettori can give it some tap, tap taparoo. Good shot by Vettori, slapping Plunkers straight down the pitch for four. 44th over: NZ 211-5
McCullum steers Collingwood into the covers for a single. Fleming will be caught in two minds here - give it some humpty, or stick around and let the others give it some humpty? Superb, block-hole bowling from Colly.

"My friend surprised his new wife by arranging to walk back up the aisle to the Ceremony Theme from Star Wars. My better half banned me from chipping in with a Wookie impression..."
Mark Lockwood in the TMS inbox

Batsman is out
43rd over: NZ 208-5
Oram edges a cut past wicket-keeper Nixon but is out next ball, feathering a catch behind. Good on ya Plunkers. Huge wicket for England and this is on a knife edge. The Kiwis need 63 from 44 balls. Plunkett beats McCullum's outside edge and Nixon is giving it some serious chirp now. McCullum off the mark with an inside edge to mid-wicket.

"Following Roger in Cyprus' lead, I wanted my wife to go down the aisle to the theme to The A-Team. I thought it would have sounded cracking on the church organ."
Jason, York, in the TMS inbox

42nd over: WICKET - NZ 203-4
Styris out, attempting to put manners on a Collingwood delivery and holing out to Panesar at mid-off. Clever slower ball by Colly and a good, cool pouch by Monty. Very evenly-matched now. Oram is next man in - he averages 121 in this series. Another bruiser Oram, he can really give it some hammer. Oram off the mark with a push into the covers.

Batsman scores 100
41st over: NZ 200-3
Monty is back on and Styris sweeps a full-bunger down to fine-leg where Bell fields very well. Styris is beaten next-up before he plays a nice stroke through the covers for on. Fleming finally reaches his seventh one-day ton with a flick to mid-on. Top-notch effort from the Kiwi skipper, who looked sketchy early on.

40th over: NZ 192-3
Fleming moves to 99 with a push to mid-off and Colly makes him wait for an opportunity to reach his ton. Flemo guides Colly to backward-square for no run before Dalrymple pulls off a fine stop at point to ratchet up the pressure on the Kiwi skipper.

39th over: NZ 188-3
KerPLunkers is back on and he better behave himself. To be fair, his second spell was markedly better than his first, which was a load of old rubbish. Styris gets agricultural and heaves Plunkett round the corner for one before Fleming latches on to a Plunkett long-hop and gets four for it.

38th over: NZ 181-3
Fleming and Styris exchange singles and that's six from Collingwood's over. Flemo 90, Styris 7.

"I've always loved the Strike it Lucky theme and would quite like it at my wedding."
Roger McCann, Cyprus, in the TMS inbox

37th over: NZ 175-3
The umpires consult and new balls are brought on. The old one looked like a haggis. Nixon stretching up like a weird one before Flintoff comes steaming in again - the big man hasn't given up the ghost. Strangled lbw appeal from Flintoff, the ball clearly sliding down leg. Fleming paddles Flintoff to short mid-wicket. Styris is squared-up by a jaffer before he tucks Flintoff round the corner for one. The rate up to 7.38 per over and New Zealand need to slip up a gear here.

36th over: NZ 172-3
New Zealand need 6.8 per over from here which makes them favourites with seven wickets in hand. Nice drive through the covers by the burly Styris for one. Just three from Collingwood's over however.

35th over: WICKET - NZ 169-3
Taylor gone, Fleming dropping the ball into the off-side and the youngster haring down the pitch in suicidal fashion. Vaughan gently lobs the ball to Flintoff and Freddie throws down the stumps. Cool from the England all-rounder, resisting the temptation to shie at the stumps. Styris is next in, and he can boom boom shake shake the room on his day. Wicket-maiden, and that couldn't have come a moment too soon.

34th over: NZ 169-2
Fleming picks up a couple with a turn into the on-side and moves to 83. He picks up another single with a drive to long-off and England need two or three scalps in the next five overs or they're toast. And not toast with a nice thin layer of butter and a generous layer of strawberry jam, but cremated toast with dead fish on top.

33rd over: NZ 164-2
Taylor mis-times a pull shot and it just evades Strauss at mid-wicket and runs away for two. Looks like a decent find this Taylor, only 22. He plays and misses at a Collingwood delivery outside off-stump and then gets a leading edge. Fleming gets a single to mid-wicket and that's eight from the over.

"Why on earth wasn't Jon Lewis playing. Assuming he is fit, he is far and away England's most accurate bowler. Speed isn't everything. With Lewis you know your going to get 10 tidy overs at the beginning of the innings, usually with a wicket or two to go with them."
Martin O'Collins in the TMS inbox

32nd over: NZ 156-2
Dalrymple, the ultimate bits and pieces cricketer, is into the attack. Two for Taylor into the on-side and he follows up with a single to backward-square. Drinks are on and England will need more than just some magic monkey juice to turn this around.

31st over: NZ 152-2
Bit of hesitancy from the Kiwi batsmen, but Fleming just makes his ground. Collingwood is back into the attack, and his dibbly-dobblys could come in handy here with England wanting to take the pace off the ball. Taylor gets one with a push to mid-on and Flemo grabs one with an uppish shovel to mid-off. The game running away from England now, someone's going to have to do something a bit special to drag this one back.

30th over: NZ 150-2
Nixon chirping away behind the stumps like a canary and Panesar goes up for a half-hearted lbw. Umpire Howell is having none of it. Taylor turns Monty round the corner for three to bring up New Zealand's 150.

29th over: NZ 145-2
Flemo gets a bumper from Mahmood, but ducks underneath it with little bother. Flemo misses with a wild attempted pull and Mahmood sends down some verbal barbs. Fleming, a veteran of the Ambrose-Walsh, Wasim-Waqar, Dominic Cork-Chris Lewis years, doesn't flinch. Six from the over.

28th over: NZ 139-2
Read out with the drinks, poor sausage. If I was him, I would have told Fletcher to jump in a lake, or something like that. Fleming cracks Panesar over mid-off for four before unfurling the shot of the day, a text-book cover-drive for another boundary.

27th over: NZ 130-2
Flemo hitting his straps, pushing Mahmood into the covers and grabbing two courtesy of an overthrow and following up with a larrup over the top for four. Nixon then thinks he's got Fleming caught behind, but the ball came off the batsman's hip. Back in your box Nixy. Not clever by Mahmood, dropping short and Fleming clipping him round the corner for a couple. Eight from the over, but Flemo doesn't look happy with that thumb.

26th over: NZ 122-2
Monty's back and he's tightening up the shackles. Just two from the over.

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25th over: NZ 120-2
Two from the over, and Mahmood is doing a pretty decent job here.

"Since Amazon defines Ker Plunk as 'a classic skill and action game", I'm not sure it suits our Liam..."
Matt Hutchin in the TMS inbox

24th over: NZ 118-2
Plunkers drops short and Flemo swings him away for four. Unflappable, Flemo. He's the sort of man who, on being told the end of the world was nigh, would find himself a park bench, spark up a gasper and leaf through the latest John Grisham thriller. Five from the over.

23rd over: NZ 113-2 The exciting Taylor is next man in and he square-drives Mahmood first-up. Fleming, still not looking totally set, drives airily at Mahmood but gets his fifty with a drop into the off-side. His knock so far has taken 72 balls and included six fours. This one's still very finely-balanced, but you have to fancy the Kiwis at this stage.

22nd over: NZ
WICKET - NZ 107-2
The Plunkers strikes back, Fulton attempting to whip him to mid-wicket but plonking a leading edge into the hands of Bell in the covers. Doesn't look much cop Fulton, never really settled.

"Carhampton is a village in Somerset on the A39 road from Taunton to Minehead, a couple of miles from the coast. I hope this is useful."
Christopher Bowyer, Taunton, in the TMS inbox

21st over: NZ 105-1
A wild and windy woosh from Fulton and he's beaten by Flintoff. Lary bunch these New Zealand fans. Not surprising really, they're all probably as drunk as 10 men. Remarkable stat from Chris in London - that catch by Flintoff was his first in international cricket on the current tour. Give that man a Grecian urn, a la Fifteen To One. Now, that was a quiz show. As for William G Stewart, what a quizmaster. Like my head of sixth form, except scarier.

20th over: NZ 101-1 KerPlunkers is back on and Fleming drags a leg-side delivery away for four. Flemo gets a thick inside edge for one to bring up New Zealand's ton and move to 49 himself. Plunkett bowls a straight one! Fulton gives it the barn door treatment but does get one for an off-drive.

19th over: NZ 95-1
Top-edged single for Fleming and Freddie is working up some pace here. Flintoff has been sheared and shaved for this encounter and he looks a damn sight better for it. Flemo is having a bit of treatment on his left thumb after that top-edged hook, but he's fine to carry on. Fulton shellacks Flintoff one bounce into the deep mid-wicket fence for four. Two-Metre Peter can give it some fearful hammer, but Flintoff gets him swaying back like a palm tree in a hurricane with some nasty chin music. Touche.

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"I remember when a hot-spot in cricket used to be the choice of nightclub after a day's play."
Arlo White on TMS

18th over: NZ 90-1
Fleming gets three into the off-side and the Beige Brigade are really ripping into a few chants. "We want something or other" appears to be the chant. Whatever it is they want, someone give it to them, they're starting to annoy me. Fulton off the mark with a nudge into the on-side. Better over from New Zealand, seven from it.

17th over: NZ 83-1
Flintoff digs in a short one, Fleming swipes at it and the bowler thinks he might have him caught-behind. The umpire thinks otherwise. Fleming still not looking completely convincing and plays uppishly for one into the covers.

16th over: NZ 82-1
Burly drive from Fleming but Flintoff saves well at mid-off. Vaughan then frustrates Fleming with a smart diving stop at short mid-wicket and it's 15 balls without a run. Mind you, thanks to Plunkers, the Kiwi pair could put their feet up and drag their way through a pack of Cafe Cremes for the next 10 overs and still consider themselves favourites to win. One from the over.

15th over: NZ 81-1
More tight stuff from Flintoff and England have really yanked on the reins here. Back-to-back maidens.

14th over: WICKET - NZ 81-1
England have the breakthrough, Vincent looking to hammer Panesar through mid-wicket but mis-cueing to Flintoff at mid-off. Relief for England and Oram is next man in. Wicket-maiden from Panesar, and he's hopping about at the end of the over like a toddler after a couple of bottles of Sunny D.

13th over: NZ 81-0 Vincent moves to 30 with an outside edge for one before Fleming gets a single with an an outside edge. That was actually a chance for Nixon, but it was a very difficult one standing up to the medium pacer. Fleming drives expansively and is beaten by Collingwood.

12th over: NZ 78-0
Panesar into the action earlier than usual and England need some tight stuff from him here, and perhaps a wicket or two. Monty raps Vincent on the pads and is convinced it's lbw, but umpire Harper is having none of it and Vincent rubs Monty's nose in it with a cheeky reverse sweep for four. "Is this England's way of making sure we don't get humiliated by Australia in the final - by not reaching the final?"
Ric Mann in the TMS inbox

11th over: NZ 71-0
Collingwood and his dibbly-dobblys into the attack and Vincent carts him over mid-off for a single. Fleming then drives down the ground, but England are saved by the timbers. Good-looking cover-drive by Vincent for one, and Fleming pushes Collingwood into the off-side for a single.

10th over: NZ 64-0
Flintoff, throwing everything into this, is bang on the money for six balls and it's the first maiden of the innings. England needed that. Well done big man.

9th over: NZ 64-0
Vincent is almost run-out at the non-striker's end, Collingwood just missing with the shie. Fleming then almost chops onto his stumps, but the ball dribbles way for a single. Four from the over and Mahmood tightening things up.

8th over: NZ 60-0
Flintoff into the attack, and not before time. It's not a great start though, Vincent getting a thick outside edge for four. Vincent then punches Flintoff through mid-wicket for three and the Kiwis are flying.

7th over: NZ 53-0
Vaughan sticking with Plunkett. Vincent clips him off his legs and Panesar makes a phenomenal one-handed, diving stop at deep square-leg. Another leg-side wide by Plunkett before Fleming flays the Durham may over extra-cover for four. Fleming adds four more with a dreamy on-drive to take New Zealand past 50 and Plunkett is getting an absolute beasting in Brisbane.

6th over: NZ 43-0
Mahmood strays onto Fleming's pads and is whipped away for four and England are haemorrhaging runs at an alarming rate.

5th over: NZ 37-0
England sticking with Plunkett and Vincent tries to jag his bat out of line, but the ball ricochets away for one. Plunkett gives Fleming some width and the New Zealand skipper carves him away for four. Six more for New Zealand and this is a ropey old start by England.

4th over: NZ 31-0
Mahmood finds the edge of Vincent's bat and the ball fizzes past Flintoff at third slip and away for four. Not sure why Freddie's at third slip when England don't have a second. Mahmood reaching some decent speeds and it's a tighter over for England.

"Difficult to imagine Goughy bowling a first over like Plunkett's..."
Gary Mitchell in the TMS inbox

"I saw Plunkett struggling in the nets recently and (bowling coach) Kevin Shine pulled him aside and got him to practice bouncers. I just thought, 'what the hell is going on here'."
Gus Fraser on TMS

3rd over: NZ 26-0
Another leg-side wide from Plunkett before Vincent runs him down to wide third-man for a single. Another wide by Plunkett before he goes up for a rather half-hearted lbw against Fleming. Four from the over.

"It's definitely OK to eat crisps before 9am. Salt and vinegar crisps while lazing in the bath are the best breakfast after a heavy night out."
Anne, Paris, in the TMS inbox

2nd over: NZ 22-0
Vincent gets off the mark following poor fielding by Dalrymple before Fleming runs it down to third-man and catches out Plunkett having a drink. Wake up big man. Mahmood is then eased through the covers by the Black Caps skipper and this is the worst start to a sporting occasion since Phill Nixon went 6-0 behind to Martin Adams in the Lakeside World Darts final last month. He lost 7-6. Eleven more to the total.

"Re: Eating crisps pre 9am. As a fellow worker of stupid hours (up at 3:30am), I think that eating habits are all relative to your waking hours, not the hour on the clock. If you were a normal person it'd be gone lunch time by now, so therefore crisps are OK, as is chocolate. And it's only an hour or two until beer is OK too."
Ric Mann in the TMS inbox

1st over: NZ 11-0
Plunkett's first delivery is a wide, as is his second. Vincent has a go at the third before Plunkers sends down another wide. Erm, Plunkett then lobs away five more wides down leg-side and this is a ruddy awful start by England. A rare straight one by Plunkett is stonewalled by Vincent before the Durham man, who bowled heroically against Australia last week, sticks another wide down leg-side. Fleming fends one off his pads for a single and New Zealand get 11 off the opening over, including nine wides. Plunkett needs his radar tinkered with.

"Cerise (see below) is French for 'cherry', so Collingwood's face was 'cherry-red', as in the great Chuck Berry's C'est La Vie: 'They bought a souped-up jitney, 'twas a cherry red '53'."
Steve Walton in the TMS inbox

0729GMT: Players are out and we've just been discussing whether it's acceptable to eat crisps before 9am. Personally, I don't think crisps are OK until 11.


"Nixon is as superfluous as Scaramanga's third nipple."
Dallas McEvoy in the TMS inbox

50th over: England 270-7
Plunkers gets four with an outside edge before Bond's ire is increased by a Fulton drop at short mid-wicket. Dalrymple scampers two after a carve into the covers before playing a delicate chop down to third man. Bond, striving for that leg-stump yorker, is flayed away for four by Plunkett before the Durham man launches the final ball down to wide long-on and chaos ensues. The batsman scamper three before Bond misses with the throw and they get another for an overthrow. Very handy final over by England and 270 looks a pretty good, if not insurmountable, total. I just hope New Zealand get skittled early, I'm supposed to be interviewing Sugar Ray Leonard at 12OC, and the Sugar Man waits for no man!

Out for a duck
49th over: WICKET - England 251-7
Nixon, the Will Kemp of this England team, mucks about a bit before being bowled by Gillespie. Big, fat duck for the England wicket-keeper. Plunkett gets off the mark with a single down the ground and Dalrymple gets one for a similar shot. Just four from the over, and in my humble opinion, England look 30+ runs short.

Batsman scores 100
48th over: WICKET - England 250-6
Collingwood brings up his third one-day international ton with a typical clip to mid-on - good, sturdy knock, brimming with character. However, Bond gets his man three balls later, Collingwood missing a low full-toss on leg-stump.

47th over: England 242-5
Dalrymple makes room and clubs Gillespie down the ground for one before missing out on a full-bunger, hitting it just short of the fielder at mid-off. Colly then misses out on a leg-side full-bunger that should have been a wide, but moves to 99 with a clip to mid-on. I just had to do a double-take there - Collingwood 99? That has to be the most low-key one-day ton I have ever seen. Effective, though.

46th over: England 236-5
Dalrymple goes for a heave-ho and gets a couple to mid-wicket. Good save at backward point by Fleming but Collingwood gets four for a top-edged sweep. Colly then gives it some humpty, clubbing Styris straight down the ground for four. Two more from Colly with a work to mid-wicket and England have slipped up a gear, like a reliable old Rover opening up down the A13.

45th over: England 222-5
England's innings has lost its way slightly. I can't help thinking we need more than nudging and nurdling at this stage. Four singles from the first four balls before Dalrymple gets two for a shovel to mid-wicket and follows-up with a sturdy off-drive for four. England needed that.

44th over: England 212-5
Dalrymple almost run-out, Styris taking the ball from the fielder at mid-on and missing the stumps. More singles from England, six runs from the over, but England need to get a wriggle-on here.

43rd over: England 206-5
Dalrymple pulls and Taylor very nearly takes the catch at deep square-leg. Would have been a crackerjack catch, but it just bounced in front of him. Three from the over and England are struggling a bit here.

"I am a Pom working at the Gabba for the Aussie Rules team Brisbane Lions. I will be clocking off in about an hour and will be making use of the master key in my pocket. Until then the BBC website is giving me welcome updates as I am stuck at my desk hearing the cheering on the other side of the wall and wondering if it is a wicket or a six!"
M in the TMS inbox

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"England will need another 60-70 runs here, it's an excellent pitch for batting."
Gus Fraser on TMS

42nd over: England 203-5
One for Colly with a turn to mid-wicket and Dalrymple brings up England's 200 with an on-drive. Collingwood turns Styris off his hips for another couple before punching him down the ground for one.

41st over: England 198-5
Dalrymple gets off the mark with an airy-fairy outside edge for four. If the Kiwis had had a slip in, Dalrymple would have been wearing it. The Middlesex man gets a single with an on-drive off Gillespie before Collingwood grabs a single with a nurdle. Bananas all-round on the England balcony.

40th over: WICKET - England 191-5
Colly jettisons a pull-shot mid-stroke but gets one for a dab into the on-side. Flintoff (17) then chucks his wicket away once again, sticking it straight down Vincent's gullet at long-on. Not clever, Freddie, not clever. Third wicket for Bond. Bond is really snorting away here like a mad bull, rapping Collingwood on the knuckles with a nasty lifter. Decent lbw shout last up, but Collingwood survives.

39th over: England 190-4
Flintoff gets an inside edge onto the pad. Sketchy. Flintoff is then dropped by Taylor at wide long-on. Normally a safe pair of hands, Taylor overran it completely and didn't even get a finger on it. Solid drive from Flintoff before he gets another couple for a chip to mid-wicket.

"Not sure we should start planning celebrations just yet, but a repeat of Friday would be good, where I had the pleasure of the company of my Aussie colleague with a boat race covered in yeast extract. Similar venue to last week would be good, floor two of four in you know where."
Scantily Clad, Singapore, in the TMS inbox

38th over: England 182-4
Collingwood latches onto a long-hop from Bond and pulls it to the square-leg boundary for four. Flintoff hits his straps, dragging Bond away for another boundary before tickling him round the corner for one.

37th over: England 172-4
The Beige Brigade making plenty of racket in the Gabba, well-oiled I'd wager. Flintoff swings Styris round the corner for one and Colly gets two scampered runs for a clip off his pads.

"Can confirm that it is a ripper of a day in Bris Vegas. Actually looking forward to my hour and a half commute home to the Sunshine Coast. Hopefully I'll be listening to Freddie taking us towards the 300 mark."
Gavin Hodgkins in the TMS inbox

36th over: England 167-4
Bond back on and he gets Collingwood hopping with some chin music. Really bristling today Bond, and he rattles Colly's bat with two more short balls. Colly runs Bond away for one to third-man, the only run of the over.

"As a Dr, Dr Black (see below), you should be fully aware that sportsmen are encouraged to spit in order to clear their airways of any undue saliva. Air is an essential ingredient in providing life forms to work properly and when the human body is under intense physical stress then the more air the better."
Lee, Perth, in the TMS inbox

"If England can get a score of around 270, history suggests that's a very good score here at the Gabba and we should be in for a very good game."
Ian Chappell in TMS

35th over: England 166-4
Decent lbw shout by Vettori against Flintoff, but umpire Howell must have thought it was going over. Collingwood rocks back and clubs Vettori away for four. Seven from the over.

"Can you ask Scantily Clad in Singapore where the celebrations will be tonight if England win. I fear that the English productivity here will go down this afternoon."
John, Singapore, in the TMS inbox

34th over: WICKET - England 155-3
Strauss misses a straight one from Styris, attempting an ugly hoick across the line, and is bowled. Fifty-five for Strauss from 63 balls, a decent knock and it's set England up nicely for the final push. Flintoff is next man in and he gets off the mark with an inside edge. Colly punches down the ground for one and it's four from the over.

Batsman scores 50
33rd over: England 155-3
Collingwood lifts his lid and a torrent of sweat comes pouring out. But he brings up his 50 and England's 150 with a clip off his legs and grabs another single with a carve into the off-side. Strauss gets one with an ease to mid-on and England are purring along.

32nd over: England 147-3
Looks like a ripper of a day in Brisbane, 31C, a bit of breeze and lots of ladies strolling about in strappy tops. Obviously, I'd rather be in a dungeon-like office drinking PG Tips out of a styrofoam cup and sharing the joys of cricket with you guys. Two singles from the over.

31st over: England 145-3
Vettori's one-day anthem is Kylie's Spinning Around, but not much evidence of spin for the left-armer so far. But he does beat an attempted cut by Collingwood and it's a good over by Vettori, switching to the Vulture Street end, just two singles from it. Players have a wet.

30th over: England 143-3
Strauss gets one for a florid drive and Colly clips off his legs for a single of his own. They do say double your 30 over score to predict your total, and if England do that they'll finish on 286. They'd take that I'd wager.

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29th over: England 140-3
Strauss is almost run-out by Vincent at the non-striker's end - would have been out by a country mile. Colly moves to 42 with a fend down to third-man before Strauss moves to 50 with a cheeky glide to third-man. Good knock by Strauss, only his second fifty of the tour, and that should keep the wolves from the door and ensure his World Cup place.

"I've never been moved to mail you before, but for goodness sake, spitting a new thing? Have none of you ever listened to the Twelfth Man tapes? The Golden Golly Award was an invention of at least 10 years ago. Get with the programme. As they say."
Clare, Scotland, in the TMS inbox

28th over: England 134-3
Collingwood gets one for a clip off his legs. Styris is into the attack and he's looking more and more like veteran American golfer Fred Funk, expect with a terrible, terrible haircut. Strauss keeps the bowling with a single of his own.

27th over: England 130-3
Strauss pulls for a couple before cutting uppishly for a few. Nine from the over and England chuntering along quite nicely here. Collingwood has gone 'cerise'. I've never heard of the word, but Jamie doing the match report reckons it means the same as 'red'.

26th over: England 121-3
Vettori beats Strauss on the cut before Vincent is made to look a mug in the field by a rogue bit of turf. Clever two for Collingwood, running the ball behind square. Vettori has a little word with Strauss, warning him not to back-up too far down the wicket. Not sure Vettori would be too popular were he to whip off the bails.

"What is it with the spitting? I have noticed that is not just England, but I feel we have given this appalling habit to the rest of the world. I have noticed that Flintoff (as captain!) plus some of the other bowlers usually manage to bring up great gobfuls when bowling. And today, Collingwood is spitting liberally at the crease, with the Kiwis in the field joining in this sputum-fest."
Dr Martin Black, Bristol, in the TMS inbox

25th over: England 115-3
Collingwood back-cuts for a single down to third-man. Nice touch from Strauss, running Oram away for one. Oram bumps Strauss with his final delivery and there's just two from the over.

24th over: England 113-3
Strauss and Collingwood milking Vettori, finding singles all over the ground now. New Zealand really need a wicket now, and Styris looks crocked out there, that's not a good sign.

"If a 90mph inswinging yorker first-up can rearrange the stumps of Gilchrist and Vaughan, what makes listeners think that Loye (average 19) would have done any better?"
Emma, Notts, in the TMS inbox

23rd over: England 108-3
Tidy over by Oram, just three from it. But the Strauss-Colly partnership is now fifty and England have weathered the early storm.

"Favourite moment on Going for Gold - Henry Kelly asked some Norwegian bloke what question he wanted on the subject of animals (ie. 1, 2 or 3pts reflecting the difficulty). The Norwegian bloke requested a question on 'beasts' at least three times as this was his area of expertise in the animal kingdom. Best of all, he couldn't understand a word Kelly was saying when he was trying to explain the rules to him."
Ciaran, Sydney, in the TMS inbox

22nd over: England 105-3
Kiwi skipper Fleming turns to left-arm spinner Vettori. Good, honest cricketer Vettori, the sort of bloke who'd do a recently-widowed neighbour's shopping every week and not even ask for any money. Collingwood shovels Vettori over the in-field and just over Bond for four. No dive from Bond, who clearly misjudged it. Colly has the shortest back-lift in cricket history. One hundred for England and Strauss adds two more with a drag into the off-side.

21st over: England 96-3
Oram puts down a tricky caught-and-bowled off Collingwood and there's just one from the over.

20th over: England 95-3
Franklin raps Strauss on the pads but umpire Harper decides it was missing something or other - it certainly wasn't missing the stumps. Lovely shot from Colly, clipping Franklin through mid-wicket for a couple, before he flails away outside off-stump and gets four down to third-man.

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19th over: England 87-3
The meaty Oram into the attack. He's been going berserk with the willow in this series - he's already hit 13 sixes - but not muck cop with the ball so far. Collingwood with a delicate cut for a couple and England looking comfortable despite those early wickets.

"Having toured with some of the guys I've toured with you get used to having to turn up and front up the morning after a few drinks."
Ian Chappell on TMS

18th over: England 82-3
Collingwood gets all manly, clubbing Franklin to the mid-wicket fence, before nicking a quick single. Strauss grabs one with a pull but Franklin almost gets one through Collingwood's defences last-up.

17th over: England 76-3
Cover-drive by Strauss is worth an all-run four and the Middlesex man follows up with a beautifully-timed pull for six. Twenty-four already for Strauss and he moves to 28 with a clip off his hips. Gillespie getting some tap, 14 from the over.

16th over: England 62-3
Strauss drives Franklin to the point boundary before Collingwood is almost run out, silly sausage. Bit of a limp throw from Vettori, otherwise Colly was gone. Bit of Winwood on the Gabba sound system, the marvellous Valerie, which is clearly better than the Zutons' Valerie. Don't really like the Zutons, apart from the sort on the saxophone.

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15th over: England 55-3
Collingwood latches onto a short ball from Franklin and gets a couple out to point. Players take drinks and I'm off to put the kettle on.

"What I loved about Going for Gold was the clueless Europeans waving at the camera during the opening titles - TV gold. Much the same as England, they too were playing catch up."
David Stevenson in the TMS inbox

14th over: WICKET - England 52-3
England lose a third wicket, Joyce feathering Franklin to McCullum behind the stumps. Strange shot by Joyce, walking to leg and wafting unconvincingly, and England are in a bit of bother. Collingwood is off the mark with a nurdle into the on-side.

"Can anyone remember the tune from Name That Tune? Thought not, how ironic..."
Luke, Sydney, in the TMS inbox

13th over: England 51-2
Couple of rather mumsy looking ladies in the crowd with 'We love Strauss' posters. Delightful. Strauss gets one for a cut before Joyce gives Gillespie some hammer, striding down the pitch and slapping him to the wide long-on boundary. Fifty for England.

12th over: England 45-2
Sweet as a nut from Joyce, whipping Franklin straight down the ground for four. Strauss flicks Franklin off his legs for one.

11th over: England 39-2
Joyce flips Gillespie round the corner for three, Bond just taking the sting off the ball. Styris then has a shie at the stumps - unfortunately Strauss hadn't gone anyway and it just misses him. Cool your jets Scotty!

"Best gameshow theme tune has to be It¿s a Knockout. I can still hear Stuart Hall laughing uncontrollably as a 5ft contestant from Lowestoft tries in vain to haul himself off the ground in a 15ft Swedish Chef outfit. And dear old Eddie Waring telling us that Pontefract are out in front, leading 8 points to 3 against Whitley Bay. Ba da da der da du dad a..."
Mark Goodison, Melbourne, in the TMS inbox

10th over: England 36-2
Bond getting Strauss swaying with some lift, but he strays on to the Middlesex man's legs and is clipped away for four. Weirdly, given Strauss' atrocious record on this tour, he's never really looked in bad nick. Otherwise impeccable by Bond, and he's currently got 2-9 from five overs. Miserly.

"Loye and Bopara brought a freshness to the England team, they just beat Australia and are then left out! What ever happened to the old adage of don't change a winning team? Ah yes, I forgot, England isn't about a fair team, it's a closed shop where only mates get selected."
Yours Disgruntled, Peter Chapman, Burgess Hill

9th over: England 32-2
So, England under the kosh here. Strauss almost runs himself out trying to scamper down to the striker's end. Joyce releases some of the pressure, carving Gilespie away for four. Tremendous stroke and it's four from the over.

8th over: WICKET - England 28-2
The Kiwis cranking up a bit of pressure here Bond does for Bell, the Warwickshire man playing away from his body and Styris pouching a straight-forward catch at second slip. 7th over: England 25-1
Gus Fraser just retelling the time when former chairman of selectors Ted Dexter said in a post-match presser, "And who can forget Malcolm Devon?" Genius. Gillespie into the attack, to the strains of You'll Never Walk Alone, and Joyce eases him off his pads for a couple. Must be a Red lover Gilly, though I'm not sure if there were any scarves being raised in the Gabba stands. Lovely off-drive by Bell, but good stop by Taylor. A dreamy straight drive from Belly only gets him one.

6th over: England 24-1
Bond really whipping up a lather here and he gets Bell hopping again with another swine of a ball. Bell almost has a nibble at the final ball and it's a maiden over.

5th over: England 24-1
Bell and Joyce exchange singles before Bell clips Franklin for four through mid-wicket. Uppish, but convincing. Joyce plays a Goweresque cover-drive that beats a couple of Kiwi fielders to the boundary. Lip-smackingly good that.

"I do believe that Michael Vaughan may have a penchant for the theme tune to Blankety Blank..."
Eamonn, India, in the TMS inbox

"Best gameshow theme tune? Easy one this one, it just has to be Going For Gold, hosted by that lovable rogue Henry Kelly. I used to watch it during the Test match lunch break back when I was on school summer holidays. All together now, 'The heat is on, the time is right...'"
Tony Munky in the TMS inbox

4th over: England 12-1
Relief for Joyce as he gets off the mark with a mis-timed pull for two. Bell grabs a single.

3rd over: England 9-1
I stand corrected, by the very kind Kenneth Chapman, Vaughan also played against Australia in Melbourne so he had a tour record of played two, won one, lost one. Plenty of bounce in this deck, but that's no good if you don't pitch it and Bell slaps a full-bunger from Franklin through the covers for four. Joyce flays wildly and he's yet to get off the mark. Testing times for England.

"I've been away from the UK for some time now¿who is Perry Groves?"
Tim Boyle, Bangkok, in the TMS inbox

2nd over: WICKET - England 1-1
Bond's first delivery is wide outside Vaughan's off-stump but the England skipper gets an absolute jaffer next-up, a vicious in-swinging yorker that beats the batsman all ends up. That was an absolute brute - not much he could have done about that bad boy. Bell is next man in and is sliced in two with his first delivery, but he got nothing on it. Bell gets off the mark with a fend to square. Bond then gets Joyce swaying back and the Kiwi paceman really has his dander up here.

1st over: England 0-0
Players are out, Vaughan and Joyce opening for England and Franklin having first go with the ball. Ever since Simon Mann mentioned "winner takes all" on TMS, I can't get the theme tune to Jimmy Tarbuck's gameshow of the same name out of my head ("Winner takes all, da da da da, winner takes all..."). Which begs the question: what is the best gameshow theme tune ever? Franklin's first three deliveries are left by Joyce outside off-stump and the Irishman is comfortably in behind the final three. Maiden to start.

"Come on England! I'm sitting at work watching the live text on BBC and I wanna go home in the morning a happy man with England well on top. Let's do this and then beat the Aussies in the final!"
Jordan Hadley in the TMS inbox

0310 GMT: There are some crazy rumours doing the rounds that KP might be flown in if England make the three-match final, although the England camp have poured cold water on the suggestion. Erm, not really sure why I mentioned it really. Would have been classic Pietersen though, I could have just imagined him legging it to the ground from the airport and slapping a quick ton in the final match.

"It's been a long tour and a frustrating tour, too many 20s. I can't really blame the umpires, I've had a lot of opportunities."
England's Andrew Strauss

0305 GMT: Gus Fraser has just served up the controversial opinion that Michael Vaughan is a better player than Mal Loye. What next, Pele better than Perry Groves? Federer better than Buster Mottram? Come on Gus, get a grip.

"Flintoff gives it his all but he's not a natural captain and is not tactically aware as Vaughan. And Vaughan is a better player than Loye."
Angus Fraser on TMS

0300 GMT: Hello everyone. All or nothing time for England in Brisbane, not for the first time on this tour. Vaughany, with a tour record of played one, won one, is back in the side, as is Collingwood for Bopara. If I was Ravi, I'd be a bit irritated by that, he was a bundle of energy in last week's win over Australia.

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