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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 March 2008, 05:10 GMT
Sidebottom puts England in charge
Third Test, Napier, day two (close):
England 253 & 91-2 v New Zealand 168

By David Ornstein

Ryan Sidebottom
Sidebottom now has a record 23 wickets on the New Zealand tour
Ryan Sidebottom bowled England into a commanding position with figures of 7-47 on day two of the third Test decider against New Zealand in Napier.

After the tourists were bowled out for 253, Stephen Fleming (59) looked to be leading the hosts to a big total.

But Sidebottom removed both Fleming and Jamie How (44) and the hosts collapsed from 103-1 to 168 all out.

England closed on 91-2, a lead of 176, with Andrew Strauss, desperately in need of runs, still there on 42.

The day had clearly belonged to Sidebottom, who became England's highest wicket-taker in a Test series in New Zealand, beating the previous record of 19 shared by Darren Gough and Andy Caddick.

He also shared the best figures in an innings by an England player in New Zealand - Phil Tufnell had an identical analysis in Christchurch in 1991-92.

And with 23 wickets in the series - and another innings to come - the man of the series award appears to be settled already.

Like the New Zealand bowlers in England's first innings, Sidebottom was the beneficiary of a ghastly batting display.

The Nottinghamshire left-armer recorded his 50th Test wicket and his third five-for of the series.

New Zealand celebrate the end of England first innings
Southee sealed his five-for with the final wicket of England's innings

But he could not have hoped for more obliging victims on a pitch that, despite the overcast conditions, was still flat, hard and seemingly conducive to high run-scoring.

Having seen Stuart Broad bat so impressively for a 102-ball 42 on day one, England skipper Vaughan would have been confident of his tail-enders battling on towards the 300 mark.

But such hopes were extinguished when Broad nicked Tim Southee behind first ball and Monty Panesar had his middle-stump ripped out by Chris Martin.

Southee then allowed Sidebottom to exploit some wide deliveries before the batsman miscued to Matthew Bell at mid-on. Test debutant Southee ended with figures of 5-55.

England would have been heartened by the early movement generated by the New Zealand quicks and they got off to a dream start when Sidebottom trapped Bell lbw.

The hapless Kiwi opener, who has made two ducks and a top score of 29 in the series, survived a decent shout off the innings' second ball but was less fortunate off the third.

Defending such a modest total, England needed to build upon their early strike but their progress was halted by the retiring Fleming, who set the tone by playing his first ball through the leg side for four.

606: DEBATE
SpeakingCivilised

Seeking the 113 runs needed in this match to achieve his goal of retiring with an average of 40, Fleming worked James Anderson for three stunning off-side fours and a six in the 10th over.

The disappointing Anderson was being smashed all over McLean Park - Jamie How edged, clipped and pulled him for boundaries in the 15th - but he would have accounted for Fleming had Strauss not put down a straightforward catch at second slip.

New Zealand's all-time leading run-scorer responded with a half-volley through cover to bring up his 44th Test fifty and led his side into lunch on 93-1.

But seven wickets in the middle session - three of them in 12 balls - turned the match on its head as the Black Caps slumped to 155-8 by tea.

Fleming's career has been somewhat blighted by his failure to convert half-centuries (44) into tons (9) and the enigma struck again when he pushed Sidebottom to Paul Collingwood at second slip.

England owe much to the form of Sidebottom, who was recalled to the Test side following a six-year absence in 2007, and he made a crucial breakthrough in the 29th over when How (44) kissed one to Strauss at first slip.

Andrew Strauss
Under huge pressure over his place, Strauss hit an unbeaten 42

The next over Broad had Ross Taylor caught behind and then two balls later Matthew Sinclair miscued Sidebottom to Broad at mid-on - his 20th wicket of the series, a new record.

Sidebottom picked up his five-for when Brendon McCullum cut at one that nipped back and dragged onto his stumps, and then he had Grant Elliott snapped up by Tim Ambrose.

Broad - who returned 3-54 - accounted for Southee before tea and Jeetan Patel shortly after, clearing the way for Sidebottom to wrap up the innings with the wicket of Daniel Vettori for 14.

Damningly, the New Zealand captain was the only player between number five and 11 to reach double figures.

England's surprise lead with over three days remaining should have allowed them to relax but Vaughan's woeful attemped pull off the fifth ball merely took a top edge through to McCullum.

Cook and the out-of-form Strauss worked hard to play themselves in and with Southee rapidly tiring they were able to profit.

The young paceman was hit for consecutive fours by Cook in the sixth over before Strauss did the same to Martin in the 11th.

Their partnership should have been broken when McCullum dropped Cook's thin edge off spinner Vettori but he made no mistake when the Essex opener gave him another opportunity off Patel on 37.

That left Strauss and first-innings centurion Kevin Pietersen to lead England's bid for victory.



SEE ALSO
Pietersen ton gives England hope
22 Mar 08 |  England
England in New Zealand 2008
16 Mar 08 |  Cricket


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