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May 18, 2008
Innings of the day
Michael Vaughan's form was the talk of Lord's in the build-up to this Test. Short of runs in New Zealand, as well as for Yorkshire in the early season, the murmurings about his role would have risen an octave or two had he failed to cash in in this game. But a return to his favoured No. 3 position, coupled with a bright sunny day for batting, gave him the perfect platform to restate his credentials. This was his 18th Test century, and his sixth at Lord's. But, it is a measure of how favourable England batsmen now find the ground, no fewer than seven colleagues have made 13 hundreds here since Vaughan's last, against Bangladesh in 2005 - each of his current top-six colleagues, plus Marcus Trescothick and Matt Prior.
Slogs of the day
While Vaughan's Test form was there for all to see, his Twenty20 strokeplay left something to be desired. He jokingly claimed earlier in the week that he'd still be available to play in the Allen Stanford beanfest in November, but on today's evidence he's probably played himself out of contention. With the No. 11 James Anderson for company, and quick runs of the essence, he lengthened his levers and sized up the midwicket boundary. But instead of hitting sixes, he inside-edged onto his pads with one monstrous mow, found only thin air with another, and then - when he did finally connect - he picked out James Marshall in front of the Grandstand.
Bowler of the day
It's often assumed that fingerspinners will be surplus to requirements during Lord's Tests in May, but just as Monty Panesar struck the crucial blow for England on Thursday by dismissing Brendon McCullum, so Daniel Vettori responded in kind by drifting an arm-ball into Kevin Pietersen's front pad, to send him on his way for 3. But for Vettori, that was just the start. Shrugging off all concerns about his injured spinning finger, he returned to add Paul Collingwood and Tim Ambrose with consecutive deliveries in an exacting five-over spell, then applied the final touches to a probing performance to complete his maiden five-wicket haul against England, and join Richard Hadlee and Dion Nash as New Zealand's only representatives on the visitors' honours-board.
Sidekick of the day
For a 21-year-old making his home debut, Stuart Broad has an immense reputation to uphold, but thankfully for England he displayed not a shred of nerves. His lofty and intelligent seam bowling is the role for which he was picked, but it was as a No. 8 batsman that his team needed him today. As he joined his captain in the middle, England were teetering on 208 for 6, but with calm assurance, impressive patience and a classy eye for the bad ball, he partnered Vaughan for 65 balls, and turned the momentum of the Test with a vital 61-run stand. His height, adhesiveness and technical correctness gave him the look and feel of a left-handed Ashley Giles - and if this form continues, he could be the answer to England's tail-end prayers.
Ball change of the day
Nothing much happened for New Zealand's bowlers in the 30.2 overs that were possible over the last two days. Kyle Mills complained last night that they'd been unable to extract any swing - "some Dukes swing, some don't," he shrugged - and Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss capitalised with their most fluent opening partnership in 28 attempts. But on the fourth morning the Kiwis had a change of ball and a change of fortunes. The umpires conferred after only ten deliveries and agreed that the ball was misshapen, and by lunch they'd scalped three wickets in 22 overs to wreck England's momentum.
Shot of the day
There were several better - mostly from Vaughan, although one particular cover-drive from Broad stands out in the mind's eye. But no stroke mattered quite so dearly as Aaron Redmond's cathartic square cut off a Ryan Sidebottom long-hop. Redmond likes to go about his batting in a calm and measured fashion, and it's just as well, for the nerves would undoubtedly have been jangling after his debut duck in the first innings. He had to withstand movement behind the bowler's arm as well as the attentions of three slips and a short leg, but Sidebottom dropped short for the eighth ball that Redmond faced, and as the ball whistled to the Tavern Stand rope for four, he escaped the dreaded pair and recorded his first runs in Test cricket.
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