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Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 19:17 UK

Last-ball error hands NZ victory

FOURTH ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL, The Oval:
New Zealand 246-9 beat England 245 by one wicket

By Oliver Brett

Mark Gillespie completes the winning run, to England's despair
Mark Gillespie completes the winning run, to England's despair

New Zealand won a remarkable one-day international when England somehow allowed last man Mark Gillespie to hit two from the final ball of the match.

He scampered a single and came back for the overthrow when Graeme Swann's shy at the stumps was not backed up.

Earlier, Grant Elliott, guiding the tourists home, was controversially run out as he was injured in a collision with England's Ryan Sidebottom.

The wicket could have been crucial, but England's modest 245 was not enough.

New Zealand's victory at The Oval gave them a 2-1 lead in the series with the final match at Lord's on Saturday.

But the packed crowd had gone silent for a while soon after the strange run-out in the 44th over which gave England their eighth wicket, and a timely lift.

Elliott played a Sidebottom delivery down onto his toes, and he and non-striker Kyle Mills set off for a single.

But Elliott and Sidebottom took each other out, Ian Bell lobbed the ball to Kevin Pietersen behind the stumps, and he calmly took off the bails.

England did not retract their appeal, so umpire Mark Benson had to give Elliott, who had hit an untroubled 24, out.

606: DEBATE
OhToBeAustralian

Mills and new batsman Tim Southee shrugged off the incident to add more vital runs.

But then Southee was run out by Bell's direct hit, leaving 13 needed from the final pair with 20 balls remaining.

Swann's last over could have ended the match, but he seemed to have Gillespie dropped by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.

Mills (25 not out) eased the tension with a massive six off Paul Collingwood in the penultimate over. A single from him at the start of the final over left Gillespie on strike for the last five balls, bowled by Luke Wright.

The tension steadily built as the batsman failed to score from four deliveries, before he squeezed out a yorker into the covers and set off.

Swann pounced and attempted to run Gillespie out, but his throw was wide, and nobody was at home behind the stumps - so New Zealand had just won a match that England should have at least tied.

England had performed well below par with the bat, and then dropped man of the match Scott Styris (69) three times.

Though they scrapped hard over the closing overs, any victory for the hosts would have hidden a number of unsatisfactory performances.

One of England's consistent failings in 50-over cricket has been failing to make the most of the first 20 overs, when fielding restrictions apply.

Yet again, and on such an amenable wicket for the batsmen, the lack of a cohesive strategy from the top-order players was in evidence from very early on.

Unsure of whether to come down the wicket, or play forceful shots off the back foot, they simply failed to pierce the infield regularly enough, even though there was no lateral movement for the bowlers.

Grant Elliott and Ryan Sidebottom
Grant Elliott is felled by Ryan Sidebottom, before being run out

Wright's innings was typical of those he has played at the top order for England.

Always looking urgent, but too often swishing at thin air, his agonising contribution of 18 ended when he finally middled a shot - only to pick out short mid-wicket with a full-blooded pull shot.

Ross Taylor took a stunning catch there, giving Mills an early wicket.

And when Kevin Pietersen then tried a similar shot, from only his second ball faced, he failed to appreciate just how wide of off-stump the ball was, and the ball looped up to mid-on.

It was vital now that Bell, playing some beautiful shots, should go on and make a big score.

But he fell in the 40s for the 11th time in one-day internationals when trying to guide Southee down to third man - his edge went straight to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.

When Collingwood departed for 14, the score was 101-4 with almost half the overs gone.

But Ravi Bopara (58) and Owais Shah (63), with any thoughts of a score in excess of 300 shelved, put on a well-paced 75 to at least make England competitive.

Frustratingly, both men got out having really done all the hard work, and with England's last five batsmen all at sea, number 11 James Anderson was run out in the final over.

After the break, two quick wickets from Sidebottom gave England hope, before Styris, on nought, was badly missed by Shah at second slip with New Zealand were 24-2.

Styris went on to hit a string of rasping cover-drives for four, and added 59 with Jamie How in 13 overs.

Sidebottom, Collingwood and Benson
Collingwood tells umpire Benson he wants Elliott's run-out to stand

But during that stand England dropped him twice more, on 27 and 28.

The charmed Styris happily continued, but the introduction of Swann's spin proved the downfall of How and Daniel Flynn, who gave catches as they tried to force the pace.

Jacob Oram came in with 140 wanted from the last 24 overs, and though the required rate almost reached six an over, he put his side back on top by sweeping Swann for boundaries and adding more lusty blows off the seamers.

But from the last ball of Anderson's 10 overs, an injudicious pull shot was top-edged and sub fielder Alastair Cook took a fine diving catch in the deep.

New Zealand suddenly felt the pressure again.

Styris was run out following Swann's excellent throw from the deep before Daniel Vettori chipped Collingwood to short mid-wicket, Bopara pouncing to take the catch.

Everything now seemed to depend on Elliott (24) and Mills.

They smoothly took the score onto 220 before the contentious run-out situation - though the real drama was still to come.


see also
England v NZ 4th ODI photos
25 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Gritty Kiwis win to level series
21 Jun 08 |  England
Kiwis thwarted by Edgbaston rain
18 Jun 08 |  England
New Zealand in England in 2008
12 May 08 |  Cricket


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