England v New Zealand 2008 / News

England v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day

Magic underwear and a non-keeping keeper

Will Luke at Trent Bridge

June 5, 2008

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Gareth Hopkins was behind the stumps on debut, but New Zealand did not drop Brendon McCullum © Getty Images
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Jaffa of the day
There were plenty of unplayable outswingers to choose from in the first hour of the day, none more so than Kyle Mills' first delivery to Michael Vaughan in the sixth over. Angling into middle-and-off stump, it bent and cut away - bouncing a touch, too - to beat Vaughan's meek forward push. Most of the assembled press half-leapt out of their seats, as did some of the crowd. Sixteen glitzy runs later, Vaughan was bowled through the gate by one of the few deliveries which didn't swing.

Second slip of the day
England can only dream of having a wicketkeeper of Brendon McCullum's stature. For all Tim Ambrose's great promise - digging England out of a hole today, much like he did in Wellington a few months ago - he has yet to reach the bar that McCullum has set for himself and others. So dangerous is his batting that there was no thought from the New Zealand camp his stiff back would keep him out of the game. The solution? Let him bat, plonk him at second slip and put Gareth Hopkins behind the stumps.

Trousers and underwear of the day
Performance-enhancing underwear is the type of false hope promised by a foreign spammer, under the alias BigMan69, but some of New Zealand's cricketers have donned pairs of high-tech Baselayer IonX underpants in bid to give them the edge. Apparently, they deliver "ionic energy to the body through a negatively charged electromagnetic field," which sounds rather more painful than our friendly spammers' promises. In addition, some select players (presumably by the team's designated shiners) are trialling trousers which help buff the ball to aid the swing bowlers. Spit-and-polish probably breaches EU health and safety regulations these days.

Stand of the day
Trent Bridge has long been a firm favourite of the fan. Amiable groundstaff, excellent transport links, some covered seating and - more often than not - a ground which produces a result. It creates a buzzing atmosphere while retaining all the traditional features that make it so attractive. Like Lord's, Nottinghamshire haven't been afraid to introduce contemporary architecture to sit alongside ageing red brickwork, and roofs that would look at home in one of Nottingham's plusher suburbs. Their latest incarnation is the £8.2m stand on the Bridgford Road side, replacing the old West wing; an imposing structure whose semi roof arcs upwards, sheltering the last quarter of seats at the top. Huw Evans, the architect, also designed the striking new floodlights which resemble giant luminous tennis racquets. To steal a cliché, the ground looks a picture.

Shot of the day
England were limping on 93 for 5, with Tim Ambrose joining Kevin Pietersen, who had lacked fluency in his 17. Until, that is, he unleashed the flamingo-flick off Iain O'Brien - a shot of his that has been in enforced hibernation for too long. The mini-collapse from which England were suffering (3 for 2 in 13 balls) poked Pietersen into life - almost, but not quite, into playing with the natural, aggressive freedom that characterised his game two years ago.

Chant of the day
Jerusalem greeted both teams as they strode out this morning, but the crowd took until 4.20pm to rise, as one, into a football chant to mock the green stewards. "Stand up, if you're a green steward" rang out from the Radcliffe Road Stand as the stewards, who had confiscated some of the fans' toys, sheepishly but stubbornly remained seated.

Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Will Luke Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.
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