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Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 18:26 UK

England held up by McCullum blitz

First Test, Lord's (day one, close) New Zealand 208-6 v England

By Jamie Lillywhite

Brendon McCullum
McCullum had some outrageous luck but played some memorable shots

Brendon McCullum hit a swashbuckling 97 to help New Zealand reach 208-6 on a truncated first day of the opening Test against England at Lord's.

When play began at 1320 BST following morning rain, James Anderson claimed three wickets and Stuart Broad two as the tourists slumped to 109-5 at tea.

McCullum rode his luck to smash 13 fours and two sixes and shared 99 in 20 overs with Jacob Oram (23 not out).

But Monty Panesar bowled McCullum off the pad before bad light ended play.

McCullum, who made 96 in his last Test at Lord's in 2004, typified a bold approach from many of the New Zealand batsmen, but was the only one to prosper on a day short on overs but not on incident.

Promoted to number five, the wicket-keeper arrived at the crease in the 13th over with his team at 41-3.

He initially appeared unsure whether to blast or block given the added responsibility of a place in the top order, but his attacking instincts saved his team from a perilous position.

Witnessing the overcast, drizzly skies that prevented a prompt start, England captain Michael Vaughan and his batting colleagues were no doubt relieved to see the coin come down in their favour at the morning toss.

Vaughan had little hesitation to bowl first, but although play was due to begin after rain at 1220 BST, further drizzle kept the players off for a further hour.

Anderson, justifying his inclusion ahead of Matthew Hoggard, was given the Pavilion End and a well-directed burst, plus the inexperience of the New Zealand top-order against the infamous Lord's slope, soon brought him reward.

James Anderson
Anderson gave England an excellent start with some penetrating bowling

In his first over he put one in the much-fabled corridor outside off-stump. Debutant Aaron Redmond, unsure whether to play, fished and was neatly caught low at third slip by Alastair Cook.

James Marshall was caught behind in similar fashion, only for umpire Simon Taufel to signal that Anderson had marginally overstepped.

But in Anderson's fourth over it was Jamie How who was the victim of more seam movement as Tim Ambrose took a simple catch behind the stumps.

The highly-talented Ross Taylor's innings was nothing short of remarkable.

Billed as the team's senior batsman following Stephen Fleming's retirement, he appeared to be still in Twenty20 mode as he attempted a series of rash strokes.

His first delivery produced the shot of the day, an exquisitely timed clip through mid-wicket, but he should have been run out when he charged down to the bowler's end for a single only to see partner Marshall there with him.

Anderson threw wildly wide of the stumps, unaware that he had time to almost walk with the ball and take the bails off himself.

Taylor continued to chance his arm, before a reckless hook at Broad, offering useful support as first change, flew off the top edge to Paul Collingwood at second slip.

Having taken three wickets with back-of-a-length deliveries, England pitched the ball up to encourage swing, and although several balls flew to the boundary they remained confident of wickets as the Kiwis maintained a positive approach.

606: DEBATE
DB

Marshall, whose last Test innings was an undistinguished 10 against minnows Zimbabwe in August 2005, prodded at a good one from Broad and Andrew Strauss held a comfortable catch at first slip.

Anderson was brought back 20 minutes before tea, and he removed another debutant, Daniel Flynn, who after two neat flicks for four had his leg-stump knocked back when the ball brushed his thigh pad.

Ryan Sidebottom, unable to find his usual consistent combination of swing and accuracy, tried his luck from both sides of the wicket and both ends, but had one of his frustrating days.

It was off his bowling that McCullum drove down the ground for four, to bring up the 50 stand with Oram from 70 balls.

Panesar had looked likely to be a bit-part player in conditions he would not have readily chosen to bowl in.

He was convinced he had dislodged McCullum on 73 with a quicker one that caught pad first as the batsman pushed forward, but languid official Steve Bucknor was unimpressed.

To compound his misery, the left-arm spinner was then launched for a huge straight six by McCullum that landed under the media centre at the Nursery End.

The mixture of strange, then stunning shots continued with an extra cover drive for six off Broad, but three short of his third Test century he was deceived in the flight by Panesar, who duly celebrated as only he can.

Left-handers Oram and skipper Daniel Vettori were finding runs rather more difficult to come by and, keen to protect a position they would gladly have taken at the tea interval, they took the offer of bad light.


see also
First Test day one photos
15 May 08 |  England
England in New Zealand 2008
26 Mar 08 |  Cricket


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