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New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Napier, 2nd day
David Lloyd: Sidebottom is the finished article
March 23, 2008
Ryan Sidebottom's magnificent performance turned things around for England
 
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Ryan Sidebottom's career-best figures of 7 for 47 put England in a commanding position at the end of the second day © Getty Images
 
Andrew Miller: Today England fought back into the match, and possibly put themselves in pole position to take the series. David Lloyd, at the close of play last night we were rather brewing England's prospects but Ryan Sidebottom has transformed it.

David Lloyd: Second day, you wouldn't believe it. At one stage New Zealand were 103 for 1, giving England the almighty run around, James Anderson going at around eight an over. It was almost like the lunch break came at England's mercy. I think the hair dryer must have come in from Alex Ferguson or somebody with tea cups being thrown, but they were transformed after the break. Sidebottom opened the bowling with, would you believe it, Paul Collingwood. Sidebottom got the breakthrough, Collingwood out of the attack and then Stuart Broad came in and supported Sidebottom brilliantly. It was a great effort, magnificent effort from Sidebottom.

I think we said right at the beginning of this game that it will need something special from a bowler, and that was special. He [Sidebottom] took seven wickets and New Zealand, from 103 for 1, were in complete disarray at tea time.

AM: Sidebottom has now taken 23 wickets in the series; he is more than double than anyone else. You can't believe it from a man who was in the wilderness for six years.

DL: I think he has served a terrific apprenticeship. He is almost like Stuart Clark of Australia - he didn't get into Test match cricket until he was 29 or 30. Sidebottom therefore is the finished article - he is fit, he is strong, he will bowl anytime, any end, [he is a ] captains dream and I think it just shows that you can serve a really good apprenticeship in Test match cricket. Then you've got other sort of players like Broad, who is learning all his cricket playing for the Test team.

AM: Well, it's the best figures by an England bowler since a certain Steve Harmison in Jamaica, 7 for 12. It just goes to show that England aren't missing him very much in this game.

DL: No, I think they will be quite happy with their bowling attack. Anderson again got knocked around, particularly by Stephen Fleming. Fleming played beautifully for his 59, but he played a typical innings. He got out again and that elusive 10th century is still there, but he has got one more go.

England would be happy with the unit. Broad's support was excellent, we have hardly seen Monty Panesar, and you just wouldn't look at this pitch and say that its a seamer's or swinger's paradise. It's a good batting pitch. There's so much time left in the game that a batsman or two can score hundreds, as Pietersen did in England's first innings.

AM: Has it been good bowling or just poor batting in this match?

DL: Well, I think Sidebottom has been excellent; his stamina has been good and the support that I mentioned from Broad, but the batting has been diabolical and it's unbelievable, some of the shots that have been played from both teams. And, if you look at it from an England perspective, they have an opportunity to win the game, it's the batsmen who will set the game up to be won. At 103 for 1, and England 253 all out, that looked unlikely, but they've got a lifeline in. Lads like Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell have a great opportunity to score big runs here. There is so much time left in the game, and we hear that the weather is going to be good, the pitch is a cracker, it really is and its begging somebody to score a century.

AM: Talking of centuries and not scoring them, we must talk a little bit more about Fleming. He scored 59 and he was looking glorious as ever, and it didn't quite happen for him again.

DL: Well, he is such a stylish, really good to watch, and he was in the mood today. He set about England's attack, particularly Anderson, and they spread the field far and wide. There were really some strange field placements from Michael Vaughan. Just as it looked as if he had done all the work, elegance personified, he gets out.

AM: That's the situation at the end of the second day, it all happened very very rapidly so far in this game. It was expected to go the full five days, but I don't think it is going to now. You've been listening to Cricinfo Talk.

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