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New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Wellington, 2nd day
David Lloyd: A terrific comeback for Anderson
March 14, 2008
A fine bowling performance by England, and Tim Ambrose's maiden ton, put England in the driver's seat
 
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Andrew Miller: Today England fought back into the series by bowling New Zealand out for 198 to secure a precious lead of 144. David Lloyd, the man who did it, James Anderson.

David Lloyd: Well, what a comeback and I don't think the New Zealanders are happy at all. I have been in the commentary box and around the ground and all the talk is: Anderson has been away, he played for Auckland. We [New Zealand] have bowled him back into the form and now he comes into the Test and nips the first five out. Thank you very much.

AM: I think it was Gavin Larsen who predicted that this would happen, and it was exactly that. I think he said that he [Anderson] would take seven-for in the match. The way he bowled today - he swung it all over the place and looked back in form.

DL: He got the conditions as well and we saw what New Zealand could do. England were bowled out for 342 this morning. Tim Ambrose got to his century but you could just sense that this is the pitch on which, if you get anything straight and bowl the right line and length, you are going to pick wickets. Anderson, with his five wickets, had good support from the England bowlers - they looked good and they worked to their plans. They have got a handy lead, in fact it is a great lead.

AM: It was vindication, I suppose, for England's controversial selection - they dropped [Steve] Harmison and [Matthew] Hoggard. Stuart Broad and James Anderson have done the business.

DL: Let's just recall what went on there. Michael Vaughan had said in the press conferences and press meetings that he wanted more youth in the team. He wanted energy in the team and he has certainly got that. He has also got a bit more pace from what we saw in Hamilton. When asked pointedly about the big two - Hoggard and Harmison - and whether this is an end of an era, Vaughan said "It maybe, and I want to see them fight their way back into the team on merit.' These two, young Stuart Broad and James Anderson, have come and selectors take a bow.

AM: Let's talk more about Anderson because he is not exactly a like-for-like [replacement] for Mathew Hoggard. He can spray around a little bit but he is quicker and when he is on song, like he was today, there is not much playing him, is there?

DL: I would say that he [Anderson] is about seven or eight miles an hour quicker, he does the same thing, swing the ball away. He can lose it every now and then. When [Brendon] McCullum came in, you could see what he wanted to do - knock him [Anderson] around and get him off his length. He went for 15 in one over and that damaged his figures. But he is a dangerous bowler and if you speak to any of the England batsmen they would say so, and how many times have we discussed this - if he [Anderson] gets it right.

Well, he got the pitch today. Everything was right for him - the direction of the wind, decent breeze, the pitch with a little bit of pace and certainly movement of the seam. So a terrific comeback for Anderson, and I have not seen him so elated, I really haven't. He needed a performance and he has got one.

AM: What about Stuart Broad? His debut came in Colombo, on flattest of flat wickets - he must have enjoyed himself rather more here.

DL: Yes, 12 overs, 1 for 56, and that is not a great reflection. He was troubled by the umpires. We saw this in Sri Lanka where the umpires were not happy with him encroaching onto the danger area. So then he has to bowl wider of the crease, which also, if you look at his pitch map, meant that he started bowling wider of the off stump. But he picked up his wicket, and I think that's the support. When you've got one who gets five-for then you've got to get somebody supporting. Let's go back to Hamilton, there one guy got ten-for, Ryan Sidebottom, and England lost the game.

AM: Also, a useful innings there towards the end by Daniel Vettori. Now he is a batsman, batting at No 8, and I think his average must be pushing fifty for the last ten or so Tests.

DL: He is one batsman, other than [Stephen] Fleming, who is in the ICC ranking purely as a batsmen, from New Zealand. He bats at No 8 and is well organised: he picks up the ball on the leg side very well, so he has obviously done a lot of net work on that. He also hit a six, which brought up his fifty, when England were trying to get him away from the strike. He just stepped away, opened the angle of his bat, and daubed it over the first slip and it went for six - so he organised and he knows what it is all about.

AM: What are the prospects now for England? They have got that precious lead of 144, the sun is out and the pitch is going to play nicely from now on, you think?

DL: I am new to Wellington, I have been here just a few times to watch cricket. But I will say that when the could is around then the bowlers will be on top and if the sun is out then the batsmen are going to be on top. It's just like Headingley back home in UK. But Mark Richardson, who is the commentator for New Zealand and also opened the batting, has played here and is saying that this pitch is going to flatten out into an absolute belter. He has also said that he wouldn't mind chasing 350 or 400 in the last innings here because it's not going to spin either. Well I don't know, but if somebody has got that experience then you are going to listen to that person. I think there are indentations on the surface, and if it is cloudy and cool, which is what we are expecting then bowlers will have a field day.

AM: Which means that we must reflect on the man who got England into this position - Tim Ambrose. He was 97 not out overnight, he brought up his maiden century and he had to fight for it this morning, didn't he?

DL: Yes, it was a little thick edge down to third man. There was no third man, so he would have relived after being on 97 overnight. He had to fight, he got to 102, and he played that counter attack, which I am absolutely certain that you need to do here. If you lose wickets at the top, then somebody has to counter attack. So, [it was] his second Test match and it was memorable. He looks the part and how many times have we said it since Alec Stewart, when a wicket-keeper comes in, and he looks the part. His glove work is good, his batting is brave - just think back to yesterday he took one straight onto his hand, he took a couple on his body and he has still got a hundred, well done.

AM: Well, England are back in this match and back in the series perhaps. Let's see what happens on the day three. You've been listening to Cricinfo Talk.

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