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England v N Zealand, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day
David Lloyd: Vettori led from the front
May 25, 2008
An intriguing day of cricket, the finger spinners led the way and England batsmen have a tall task ahead of them
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David Lloyd: 'Daniel Vettori has been outstanding with his variations. He's causing all sorts of problems for the English batsmen who just cannot seem to read him © Getty Images

Andrew McGlashan: It's been a day where the game has moved on rapidly. Both teams have been bowled out and England have been set 294 to win. David, it has been a fairly extraordinary day's play?

David Lloyd: Well, I think it's been absolutely terrific into day three. There is a debate worldwide that finger spinners are going out of the game and there's nothing for them, but they got a perfect pitch here. It's got some pace, it's got some rough areas, the ball is spinning off the pitch and you've got Daniel Vettori and Monty Panesar almost going head to head. Also, Vettori took five wickets for the second time in the month of May. It was a great effort and it looked as if England were absolutely out of it, but they came back. Panesar equaled Vettori, which is saying something, since Vettori has got far more experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed the game up to now.

AM: Let's just focus on Vettori for a moment. He bowled beautifully at Lord's and given more help here, he bowled beautifully again.

DL: New Zealand's captain gave a great lead and he was terrific. Perhaps they are slightly different - Vettori and Panesar. Vettori has more variations and you would expect that. I think Panesar is a bigger spinner, but Vettori on any pitch will vary his pace and he has got this slider, the swinger if you like, the one that goes straight on. He is causing all sorts of problems to England's batsmen because they are not reading which ball is spinning and which one is going straight on. And he controls both of them beautifully; they are all landing in the same spot. I think he has been terrific, I really do.

AM: Vettori has done [Kevin] Pietersen and [Paul] Collingwood twice in two innings, with different deliveries on both occasions. It shows that he is a thinking cricketer and perhaps England's batsmen aren't quite up to it at the moment

DL: At Lord's, Pietersen played bat and pad together and got done lbw, and when he tried to counter that by playing in front of his bat, the ball spun, took the outside edge and he was caught at slip. So you would say that it is two-up to Vettori, to get a great player like Pietersen, who has been quiet so far. He [Pietersen] will be saying that he will get some along the way, but Vettori, so far, has troubled him

AM: You've been the coach of England before. What does a coach or captain say to the team when they go in at the end of the innings like that, and they've got a huge deficit? What will Peter Moores and Michael Vaughan try to do to gee the team up again?

DL: It's an easy thing to say, and it's an old cliché, but I think in the game so far, England have been tentative. I am talking about them as a batting unit. I think there is evidence and a pattern over the last few Test matches. I know that they won in New Zealand, 2-1, but the scoring-rates have not been matching New Zealand and previously, Sri Lanka.

With regard to what you would say in the dressing room, and I am just going back to situations when Michael Atherton was the captain - he would definitely take the lead.

In this present situation, he would have said: "We can get these; we need to play positively. Do all the things that we've been growing up with since we were teenagers. Openers, get the shine off the ball, be careful, watch the pace, watch the bounce, build a partnership, and make it easier for the rest of us ... quieten them down. They are going to be cock-a-hoop, [a target of ] 293, and they might say 'you are not going to get anywhere near it, our captain is going to bowl you out.'

"Let's see how far we go by being shade more positive in this game than what we have been, and let's see where it takes us. If you get a bad ball, knock it away, and he can only bowl one at once, these are not superman. Let's really have a real go at getting this."

So, you've got to build the confidence and I know that Atherton would have said all those words. As a coach, I wouldn't have said a word, just left it to the captain - it's his game.

England have responded pretty well, but I do feel that they need to be, not only in this Test, but in matches to come, more positive.

AM: You can never accuse Panesar of being anything but positive in his appealing or in his bowling, and he is a terrific character. He looked slightly tense in the first innings, perhaps that was the pressure of expectations of coming back at Old Trafford, but he settled nicely after a couple of loose overs and destroyed New Zealand.

DL: I think he has learnt, very quickly, about pace at Old Trafford. The criticism that was leveled at Panesar, in his early career, was that he couldn't vary his pace. Well, he quickly found that you've got to drive the ball in here, and it's not so much about flight. You should get plenty of action and rotation on the ball, and bowl quick enough so that the batsmen can't get down the pitch, because it will bounce here. Spinners, the lot of them, [Muttiah] Muralitharan, Shane Warne and the guys we are seeing here, Vettori and Panesar - if it spins, fine, but give me some bounce as well and you'll get anybody out.

And that's why I am going over old ground here, and I'm unbelievably biased, but this is a great place to play cricket. I think it has been an absorbing Test match cricket, the response from the crowd has been brilliant, and there are obviously parties on among England followers. But we ain't going to get this for four years, which is a crying shame.

AM: Great moment when Panesar picked up his 100th wicket. Like you were saying, this is an ideal ground for him to do that and he certainly enjoyed the moment.

DL: Well, he is always going to appeal and enjoy his own success. I think there is also a lot of affection with Panesar, firstly from his team-mates; they love it when he succeeds. I think they enjoy the celebrations and so do the crowd. He is so much a crowd favourite, and every time he went back to his fielding position he got a terrific round of applause.

Yes, a 100 wickets and I think he is on to go past Derek Underwood, who took 297 Test wickets. I think Monty, staying fit, which he shouldn't have a problem with, should get 300 wickets. He is coming along really well, a match-winner for England as a spin bowler.

AM: His [Panesar's] effort buoyed England after a fairly depressing morning but the harsh reality is that the target is 294, which isn't going to be easy.

DL: No, it's not. There are pieces coming out of the pitch, there are a lot of rough areas for Vettori to exploit. There are also the seamers, who've got to bowl at the other end and complement Vettori. He will be disappointed that he did not get into the openers early, but he has got the cushion of the runs. At this stage I'd like the runs on the board, because anything can happen. Two can get in and build the partnership, but it will be hellishly difficult for the next batsmen who comes in, because you bet your life that there are going to be fielders around the bat and you can't make a mistake.

AM: Well, weather permitting, this Test match might only last one more day but it should be compelling viewing.

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Posted by Alistair on (May 26, 2008, 6:03 GMT)

Bumble is a joy!Entertaining and knowlegeable,a rare combination.Please ensure to include his interviews and comments in future.Thank-you.

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