March 13, 2002

Second morning crucial for England in first Test - Hussain

England's hopes of getting the winning result out of the first National Bank Test against New Zealand in Christchurch largely depend on how they do tomorrow.

Dismissed for 228 by New Zealand on the first day, but with the pitch still offering some encouragement to the bowlers, England have to make the most of it to put the pressure back on New Zealand.

Chris Cairns
Cairns - early success
Photo Photosport

And already the home team is without opener Mark Richardson who was out leg before wicket for two, as New Zealand ended the day on nine for one.

That England scored so many was attributable to the innings played by captain Nasser Hussain. His 106 gave the innings substance.

The top order had been ripped out by Chris Cairns when he took Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher in his first over and then picked up Michael Vaughan later.

Hussain came to the wicket before a run had been scored and departed, the last man out for his 10th Test century. It could best be described as a functional innings scored in testing circumstances as the New Zealanders made good use of the sporting conditions.

He took 307 minutes to reach the mark and his total innings time was 323 minutes. His 50 was scored off 113 balls, although he waited 19 balls on 49 to reach that mark.

He did have a life when on 52, when a straightforward chance was put down by New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming at first slip. But for the main part he showed a degree of resourcefulness aptly suited to the match situation.

It was a classic example of a captain leading the way and showing the sort of application that the less experienced batsmen in the side needed.

"There were a large percentage of unplayable balls," he said.

The ball was still leaving little green marks in the pitch and that offered hope there would still be life tomorrow when play resumes. There is also the prospect of rain overnight.

"I knew it might zip around a little but the ball does go off for four very quickly. It is by no means impossible but it was a bowler-friendly wicket," he said.

"You were never fully in on it, but you had to have positive intent. It was nice getting a hundred and to carry your team as captain but we were 20-30 runs short.

"It was important that I got a hundred. I have had a lot of scores between 30 and 80 but today I was determined. I saw Ricky Ponting on television this morning score his 10th century and I said to myself it was about time I scored a century," he said.

"At the moment we are in the game," he said.

Ten Test centuries was a goal he had set himself some years ago and he had wanted to do it in Mohali, in India, for different reasons last year but he was happy to get one in New Zealand.

"I can't emphasise just how important tomorrow is," he said.

Two bad umpiring decisions did nothing to aid the England cause.

The first was suffered by Mark Ramprakash when umpire Asoka de Silva, named yesterday on the elite ICC panel of eight umpires, gave Ramprakash out to a ball that was never near his bat and, in fact, came off the top of his pad to be taken by wicket-keeper Adam Parore.

He was out for 31 having helped Hussain add 56 runs for the fifth wicket at a vital stage of the innings.

Later, Andy Caddick was given out, leg before wicket, by Brent Bowden from an inswinging yorker bowled by fast man Ian Butler, when the ball looked to be heading down the leg side. He was out for a duck.

Hussain was last man out, leg before wicket for 106 off Chris Drum's bowling. He clearly wasn't happy with de Silva's decision but on the replay he wasn't as harshly done by as Caddick.

Cairns' opening burst was a triumph of experience over enthusiasm as affected Drum and Butler during the first stages of their spells. He had three for 32 after his first seven overs, eight of them from deliberate slashes over the gully area for boundaries.

By the end of the innings he had three for 58.

Drum, who gained the valuable wicket of Graham Thorpe for 17, courtesy of a slip catch by Fleming, maintained the remarkably low bowling average he has enjoyed in domestic cricket this summer by taking three for 36 from his 20.2 overs.

Matthew Hoggard did give England something to cheer about however, when removing the dangerous New Zealand opener Richardson for two with a fine ball that left no doubt about his fate.