Five-wicket Franklin frazzles England
New Zealand 103 for 3 (Fleming 31, Harmison 3-38) beat England 101 (Franklin 5-42) by seven wickets
England picked up their dismal one-day form from where they had left off against West Indies at Trent Bridge, as New Zealand completed a thumping seven-wicket victory with exactly half the day's allotted overs left unused. Under overcast skies and on a seamer-friendly pitch, New Zealand's hero was their exciting left-armer James Franklin, who tore through a woeful batting line-up to finish with the magnificent figures of 5 for 42. Although Steve Harmison replied in kind in front of his home crowd, New Zealand needed just 17.2 overs to complete their victory target of 102.
Franklin, who began the season playing club cricket in Lancashire, was one of the stars of New Zealand's third-Test defeat at Trent Bridge earlier this month. Once again he bowled with pace, control and late movement from his tricky left-arm line, as Stephen Fleming's decision to bowl first was instantly vindicated. For the second match running, Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan were unable to provide their side with the necessary platform, and given the paucity of England's middle-order resources, another embarrassment was on the cards long before it became a reality.
Franklin might have struck with his very first delivery, as Vaughan jabbed down late on an inducker and squeezed it away to the fine-leg boundary for four. Instead, it was the steady seam of Jacob Oram who made the first incision, as Trescothick galumphed down the track and aimed an ugly heave across the line (24 for 1). Trescothick had started with intent, with three bullish boundaries to launch his innings, but over-confidence soon got the better of him.
It did for Vaughan as well. He unfurled a glorious cover-drive as Franklin overpitched, but three balls later, he was bowled all-ends-up by one that nipped back through the gate (30 for 2). On Sunday, Geraint Jones's promotion to No. 3 was a qualified success, but this time he under-edged an attempted square cut and was bowled for 5. Seven runs later, the local boy Collingwood was gone as well. He swished at Franklin as if he was expecting another inducker, but instead the ball held its line and the stand-in wicketkeeper, Gareth Hopkins, completed his first catch in New Zealand colours.
Not even a much-needed drinks break could stop the rot. From the first ball after the resumption, Andrew Strauss (8) top-edged a well-directed bouncer from Franklin and Oram completed an excellent low catch at fine leg (51 for 5). Though Ian Blackwell and Anthony McGrath each slashed a four through backward point to keep the runs dribbling, Franklin was on a roll, and Fleming was only too willing to ride with him.
Blackwell was trapped plumb lbw by Franklin's first delivery of his tenth over, before Ashley Giles - back in the side at the expense of Rikki Clarke - was sent on his way for a first-ball duck by a venomous off-stump delivery that took the edge and whistled through to Hopkins. Darren Gough survived the hat-trick ball - just - and saw out the over, but he couldn't keep Chris Cairns out of the limelight for long, and soon drove a thick edge to Fleming at slip (76 for 8).
McGrath, who is getting used to being on a hiding to nothing, was then adjudged caught-behind as he tried to cut an Oram inducker, and at 78 for 9, England were staring at a new record low in one-day cricket, with their 86 against Australia at Old Trafford in 2001 under embarrassing threat. James Anderson and Steve Harmison did their level best to salvage the situation, with a spirited last-wicket stand, and Harmison produced the loudest cheer of the day when he was clumsily dropped by Fleming at slip. But although the last pair inched England into three figures, Daniel Vettori wrapped up proceedings as Anderson attempted a slog-sweep out of the rough.
In reply, New Zealand rattled along at six runs an over as Vaughan committed his team to all-out attack. Harmison grabbed three wickets in seven balls in the middle of a hostile spell, but New Zealand already had 48 on the board when he made his first breakthrough. By then the back of the run-chase had already been broken.
With a valuable bonus point available for a swift finish, Fleming had launched the innings with aplomb, twice tickling Harmison for four behind square and driving Gough through the covers two overs in succession, on his way to 31 from 34 balls. He was eventually caught by Gough at third man, as he attempted to uppercut a Harmison bouncer.
Nathan Astle had been served notice of Harmison's intent with a stinging bouncer that cracked into the peak of his helmet, although Anderson obligingly provided him with a brace of four-balls to ease the pressure. Harmison, though, was not to be denied, trapping Astle lbw for 15 as he padded up on off stump. Hamish Marshall then flapped his ninth delivery to Giles at leg gully, but then Craig McMillan and Scott Styris eased New Zealand to victory.
Astonishingly, England have not won a one-day international batting first since their Anderson-inspired victory over Pakistan at the 2003 World Cup. On this evidence, it is will be quite some time before they rectify that statistic.