March 14, 2002

Disciplines needed by New Zealand but maybe too late

England will go into the third day of the first National Bank Test with a lead of 144 runs, eight wickets in hand, and a powerful position from which to beat New Zealand at Jade Stadium in Christchurch.

It's a long hard grind back into the game for the New Zealanders who know they need quick wickets on the third morning and then to bat with much more assurance in their second innings.

For the moment England have assumed complete control on the back of a fine individual bowling performance by big-hearted Matthew Hoggard. He took seven for 63 from 21.2 overs that reduced the confident New Zealand side which had competed so well in Australia, to a comparative rabble.

The concern before the match had been that England would miss Hoggard's Yorkshire team-mate Darren Gough, but Hoggard bowled with such spirit that it certainly wasn't a factor in the first innings.

While he had early swing to assist him when play started 75 minutes late, he was able to lie on native cunning through the later stages of his spell.

And just when New Zealand might have thought they were in a position to take advantage of his absence, Andy Caddick unleashed his best bowling of the innings to take three wickets in five balls to pick up Stephen Fleming, Chris Cairns and Adam Parore to successfully emasculate any hope that New Zealand had of a fighting recovery.

Fleming's dismissal was disappointing as he struggled for 12 runs off 58 balls before playing a distracted looking cut which was easily taken by Ashley Giles at gully.

Cairns played only three indecisive shots, the last of which saw him caught at third slip by Andrew Flintoff, and then Parore was out leg before wicket first ball.

There was some brief hope for New Zealand when Craig McMillan launched a belated assault when it seemed the only sensible option. He took on Hoggard and Caddick and scored 40 off 48 balls to at least reduce the margin from the 117/8 that had New Zealand on the canvas and out for the count.

McMillan was dropped on 15, just after Caddick had done his damage, when 12th man Craig White dropped a sitter on the third man boundary.

Earlier, it was nightwatchman Daniel Vettori who gave the innings substance with the sweetest strokeplay of the New Zealand line-up. Cover and straight driving in his inimitable fashion he scored 42 off 56 balls before being undone by Hoggard who switched to bowling around the wicket and picked up Vettori from the first ball.

Then having conceded an 81-run deficit on the first innings, New Zealand had to bowl with the knowledge that Cairns was not at peak fitness having suffered a patella tendon strain in his right leg.

After Marcus Trescothick launched into Chris Drum's bowling, Ian Butler struck from the other end and bowled Michael Vaughan for the eighth duck of the match. Then after Trescothick looked set to tear the bowling apart with successive fours, square on either side of the wicket, he hit a fast ball in the direction of point where Vettori held the ball despite being knocked off his feet by the force of it.

But with England 144 runs in the front, it is going to take some dramatic action for New Zealand to get back into the game.

"We've got a bit of work to do early tomorrow," coach Denis Aberhart said.

"Two hundred and twenty-eight is a few more than we would have liked them to score and while Hoggard bowled well, we played some loose shots and showed poor discipline and judgment.

"We will have to play within ourselves a little more.

"We had poor shot selection and we didn't work as hard as we needed to on that wicket," Aberhart said.

The side needed to show the disciplines they had when in Australia.