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May 25, 2008
Non-appeal of the day
New Zealand clearly felt so confident of knocking England over that they didn't need to appeal for all the edges. Early in the day Iain O'Brien brought a ball back into Kevin Pietersen, who stretched forward to play it. The ball ballooned into the slips, where it was caught, but the appeal was so muted from behind the wicket that everyone presumed it had come off the pad. Replays showed a different story as Pietersen had got a healthy inside edge on the ball. However, there was no doubt about Pietersen's next edge, which was comfortably held at slip by Ross Taylor to begin England's rapid demise.
Wicket of the day
Daniel Vettori's beautiful setting up of Pietersen and Paul Collingwood came close but, if only for the celebrations, it goes to Monty Panesar. He responded from a poor first-innings display with a career-best 6 for 37, his third five-wicket haul at Old Trafford, and in the process grabbed his 100th Test scalp. He'd already gained three lbw decisions from Simon Taufel - and had another turned down that nearly caused him a seizure - when he went up again against Taylor. The ball turned from off stump, but Taufel still raised the finger. Taylor wasn't happy, and the decision could have gone the other way, but Panesar didn't care. At the end of the over he grabbed his sweater and went back to the boundary to soak up the applause of an adoring crowd. He even gave them a wave.
Juggle of the day
Taylor was kept busy at slip throughout England's innings. On the second evening he grassed a chance from Andrew Strauss, but was back on top catching form today...well almost. He was the lone man in the cordon with O'Brien bowling to Ian Bell, and was being kept on his toes by Bell's constant flirting outside off stump. Eventually the edge came, flying at waist height towards Taylor. But it didn't go in cleanly, jumping out of his hands. Taylor began to fall backwards, yet had the presence of mind to keep his eyes on the ball and grabbed it at the second attempt.
Catch of the day
Brendon McCullum is a box-office cricketer, one that people will flood into a ground to watch. Usually that's because of his batting, but his glove work is now up there with the best in the world. He already had a superb catch to his name yesterday after snaffling Andrew Strauss low to his right, but he surpassed that with his next effort. The New Zealand slips like to space themselves very wide, first is often stood where a conventional second would be. No doubt, this will be partly down to instruction from McCullum who has huge confidence in his game. His catch to dismiss Panesar showed the confidence isn't misplaced. He flung himself horizontally to his left, at full stretch, and managed to cling onto the ball with the webbing on his left glove. A breathtaking effort, and the latest Kodak moment for McCullum's growing photo album.
Defiance of the day
England were still two runs short of saving the follow-on when the ninth-wicket fell. That embarrassment was avoided with a sharp two from Broad, who then proceeded to give the England fans some rare moments to cheer. He twice drove Kyle Mills through the off side - once off the back foot then off the front - with a class and conviction that eluded the top order.
Alarming delivery of the day
Vettori and Panesar were the major threats as the ball spun regularly, but there was also plenty happening for the quicks as well. When England began their run chase Chris Martin was bowling round the wicket to Alastair Cook. One ball pitched just back of a good length and reared alarmingly, while also jagging away off the seam. McCullum had to leap and still barely managed to reach it. It's a good job it wasn't straight, otherwise Cook might have lost his head.
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