Tuffey's best sets up series-saving chance for New Zealand

Lynn McConnell

April 2, 2002

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Career-best figures he may have had but New Zealand fast-medium bowler Daryl Tuffey wasn't resting on his glory at stumps on day four of the third National Bank Test in Auckland today.

He was looking ahead to the job he has tomorrow as he spearheads New Zealand's attempt to draw the series with England.

Tuffey took six for 54, his first five-wicket bag in Tests, and completed a remarkable turnaround for a bowler who conceded 232 runs before taking his first Test wicket, in South Africa last summer.

New Zealand now lead England by 311 runs with one wicket in hand and 105 overs to play tomorrow.

Tuffey's story of being told to go away by the selectors, after the South African tour last summer, and to take some wickets in domestic cricket, is now part of modern cricket folklore in New Zealand cricket. He did that and from the time he returned to play Pakistan last summer until today, he has taken 22 wickets at 22.54.

Today's effort was especially satisfying as New Zealand finally managed to nail an opponent after getting the early breakthrough.

But even then the English, from being 124/8, managed to add 36 runs for the last two wickets, mainly to Andrew Caddick who scored 20 before he was bowled by Tuffey.

Andre Adams gained his first three Test wickets for 44 runs, his first was a vital one.

Michael Vaughan came into the series threatening to play some big innings but has been largely contained thanks to England's opening the innings with him instead of playing him down the order. He looked as if he was just starting to get the measure of the bowling when he edged a straight one to Adam Parore for 27.

Adams' "second" will live long in his memory. It is doubtful there has been a more contentious decision in recent New Zealand history than that which saw Adams attributed with Andrew Flintoff's wicket.

Flintoff was just starting to unwind and going for his shots when he played at a ball from Adams which missed his bat by a considerable distance, enough to suggest that even if Flintoff's bat had clipped his pad there was enough space for Flintoff to have expected better from umpire Doug Cowie. England batsman Graham Thorpe, who was at the other end, said afterwards there had been no noise.

In a rare display of annoyance in New Zealand at least, English supporters rounded on Cowie, he was booed at the end of the over, he was booed when he walked from the ground at lunchtime and he was booed when he came back out. The booing followed him all day.

Even Adams, who had not appealed for the catch, came in for sufficient barracking from the crowd when he went to field at backward square leg that captain Stephen Fleming immediately changed his fielding position.

It was ironic that in claiming a catch, Parore took his 199th wicket-keeping dismissal, but off the last ball of the same over dropped a sitter from James Foster that would have given him his 200th dismissal.

Flintoff had earlier been given a let-off when he was dropped by Nathan Astle when on six from Chris Drum's bowling.

When Fleming held the catch off Matthew Hoggard's bat to end England's innings, he became the 18th player to take 100 catches in Test matches, aside from wicket-keepers.

However, Flintoff was the only Englishman who had grounds for complaint with his dismissal.

The key man was again Thorpe who, inexplicably, departed after shouldering arms to a ball from Tuffey which moved back on him sufficiently to clip the top of his off stump to see him out for 42.

"It's great getting your first fiver and making it six but the job's only half done and I've got to try and produce the same tomorrow," Tuffey said.

"I just bowled mainly line and length to make them play every ball and to just stay in the channel and not bowl too much loose stuff.

"The ball was coming out nicely, it was swinging early on so my main goal today was just to bowl straight," he said.

Later in the day the bounce of the ball got more variable and started to stay a little low. That is what New Zealand are counting on tomorrow to try and force a result in their favour.

And Tuffey will shoulder much of the burden of achieving that result. He said he seems to get better the more bowling he does, and he will have every chance to show that touch on what promises to be another tight day of Test cricket.

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