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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 04:49 GMT
Late wickets spoil England start
First Test, Hamilton: New Zealand 470 v England 87-2 (day two)

By Paresh Soni

Chris Martin (right) took two late wickets to stun England
Martin spoiled a solid start for England with two late strikes
England lost Alastair Cook and Matthew Hoggard late on day two of the first Test to close on 87-2 after New Zealand punished innocuous bowling to make 470.

Ross Taylor hit 120 as he added 148 with Daniel Vettori (88), with Hoggard and Steve Harmison struggling badly.

Ryan Sidebottom (4-90) took two wickets in two balls to wrap up the innings.

Michael Vaughan (44no) and Cook (38) played solidly until Cook skied a catch off Chris Martin, who then got Hoggard to edge to slip in his next over.

England were looking for quick wickets at the start of play, but Taylor and Vettori effortlessly dashed any prospect of a swift end to the New Zealand innings after they resumed on 282-6.

Hoggard and Sidebottom providing plenty of width to latch on to, although Vettori was fortunate on 23 when Sidebottom made a muted lbw appeal after swinging the ball back in and TV replays suggested it was out.

But apart from that momentary scare the Black Caps captain was so secure that Taylor was able to move up a gear from his watchful caution on day one and produce the flowing strokeplay he has shown in one-day cricket.

The right-hander was a figure of authority with his cover and straight-driving, and another of his favourite shots - a pull off Harmison for his 16th boundary - saw him complete his maiden Test century off 185 balls.

Vettori lifted the generally tidy Monty Panesar over mid-wicket shortly after lunch to bring up his 15th Test fifty off 101 balls as the duo registered a record seventh-wicket stand for New Zealand against England.

Ross Taylor (l) celebrates his century with Daniel Vettori
Vettori (right) congratulates Taylor on his maiden Test hundred

Steve Harmison was even less threatening than on day one, with many deliveries sent down at below 80mph and Vaughan eventually turned to Kevin Pietersen's part-time off-spin, perhaps more in hope than expectation.

The change reaped a surprisingly instant reward when an attempted slog-sweep from Taylor ballooned via the top edge back to the bowler.

Vettori, who confidently heaved Panesar over long-on for six, was closing in on a third Test century when he failed to pick a slower Paul Collingwood off-cutter and guided the ball to Andrew Strauss in the slips.

Kyle Mills enjoyed himself in an unbeaten cameo of 25 by pulling the lifeless Harmison and twice drilling him through the off-side for boundaries.

But Sidebottom brought the punishment to an end by having Jeetan Patel snapped up by Strauss at first slip and bowling Martin next ball.

England's reply began with Cook groping unconvincingly outside off-stump against Martin, whose pace and bounce surprised him, while off-spinner Patel also beat him with some cleverly flighted deliveries.

The young left-hander recovered his poise to launch some crunching straight and cover drives.

Vaughan was the epitome of concentration at the other end, studding a solid knock with some shots of real quality, none better than a cover drive off Jacob Oram.

He had a let-off on 23 when Patel found his edge and Stephen Fleming put down a chance that just carried to him at first slip.

Cook was not so lucky when he skied a pull off Martin and nightwatchman Hoggard did not last long before fending the seamer to Fleming.

A pitch already taking plenty of turn is expected to break up in the baking sun forecast for the next couple of days.

And Vaughan and co have plenty of hard work ahead to avoid a game they had high hopes of winning developing into a survival battle.



SEE ALSO
Sidebottom eyes England revival
06 Mar 08 |  England
New Zealand v England photos
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England in New Zealand 2008
03 Mar 08 |  Cricket


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