England quicks impress in draw
England XI 369 drew with New Zealand Invitational XI 146 (Sheed 47, Anderson 3-31, Hoggard 3-32) and 102 for 3
England's pace bowlers enjoyed a productive workout as they blew away a strong New Zealand Invitational XI batting line-up on the second day in Dunedin. The match ended in a draw, but that was almost irrelevant as this was never more than an early-tour loosener for the tourists.
The home side's top order contained four players likely to feature in the first Test next week, but replying to England's overnight 369, they were skittled for 146. Even that represented a recovery as they had been 26 for 5 midway through the morning session. James Anderson and Matthew Hoggard shared six wickets while Steve Harmison grabbed two in a performance which improved after a wayward start.
Rather than another two hours batting practice, Michael Vaughan enforced the follow-on and Monty Panesar took two wickets as the NZ Invitational XI closed on 102 for 3.
"It's always nice to knock a few of the batsmen you're going to play against maybe next week over cheaply," Vaughan said. "Steve gets better and better the longer he bowls, he was one of the reasons we went out and bowled again.
"We've learnt a little bit about the conditions and the ball is swinging, which is good for us and hopefully that will continue. Before the game started we came up with a plan that we were going to bat a day and they were going to bat a day, but we bowled them out.
"I thought there was an opportunity to get some more wickets and also to get some more overs in our legs as fielders and a bowling unit, which is important because we've only got the three-day game to go before the Test. We could have taken the option to bat on for a little bit, but I thought overs in the legs and in the field would be just as important."
The one downer for England was that Ryan Sidebottom was unable to bowl because of a hamstring strain he picked up in the last ODI on Saturday. He will sit out the three-day warm-up match at the same venue starting on Thursday.
"We're not concerned about him for the Test match at this stage and it's a little bit of a precaution that he'll miss the three-day game, but he has got a slight problem so there has to be some concern," Vaughan said. "Hopefully over the next few days he'll heal fast and he'll be able to start bowling towards the end of the three-day game or when we arrive in Hamilton (for the first Test)."