Redmond hundred lifts NZ spirits
New Zealanders 329 for 8 (Redmond 121, McCullum 72, Fulton 57, Wigley 4-74) v Northamptonshire
The New Zealanders began rebuilding their shattered confidence, following the six-wicket defeat in the second Test at Old Trafford, as Aaron Redmond bounced back from a difficult first two Tests with 121 on the opening day against Northamptonshire. It was Redmond's second hundred of the tour, while stand-in captain Brendon McCullum and Peter Fulton both managed half-centuries.
The tourists were given a boost when Daniel Flynn was passed fit following the blow he took in the mouth from James Anderson last week. He has undergone three lots of dental work to repair the two teeth he lost on the opening day at Old Trafford, and successfully completed a net session ahead of this match. However, his comeback innings lasted just seven balls before he was trapped in front by David Wigley, as the New Zealanders lost their way in the final session.
For much of the day, though, this had been a worthwhile exercise in healing some wounds (both physical and mental) after the disappointments of Manchester. Fulton, in his first innings for a month, and Redmond had to be on their toes for the first hour as the ball jagged around, especially for Johann Louw. But after turning down an offer for bad light, 80 runs came off the next 12 overs up to lunch. Fulton didn't add to his score after the break when he got an edge off Louw and Northamptonshire soon made further inroads.
James Marshall, in need of a score after an unconvincing time at No. 3 in the Tests, fell cheaply to Richard Logan and Ross Taylor flashed outside off stump against David Lucas. However, Redmond remained firm, as he had in the warm-up matches before the Tests, apart from a tough caught-and-bowled chance to Jason Brown on 29, and reached his century off 200 balls. This century followed the 146 he made against England Lions at The Rose Bowl and, although his technique has been shown up at the highest level, this innings should at least mean he has some confidence heading into the final Test at Trent Bridge.
Confidence is not something McCullum lacks even though he had a poor game with the bat at Old Trafford. Here he is playing purely as a batsman, while Gareth Hopkins gets a game behind the stumps, and he was fairly restrained to begin with. However, he still launched Graeme White for a slog-swept six while adding 144 with Redmond. He fell amid the late slump off 5 for 32 as Wigley improved his figures.