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March 8, 2008
Man of the day
Few cricketers have deserved a day in the sun quite like Ryan Sidebottom. Dismissed for so long as a one-cap wonder after his solitary appearance at Lord's in 2001, he never got a sniff of a recall in the Duncan Fletcher days, despite taking 50 wickets a season on a regular basis for Nottinghamshire. He was nothing more than a trundler, so the reasoning went, but he's trundled into the record-books in this game. With his father, Arnie, watching from the stands, he picked up England's 11th hat-trick in Test history, and the first since his new-ball partner, Matthew Hoggard, in Barbados four years ago.
Dismissal of the day
The hat-trick was special, but there was another wicket that fell in the intervening over that arguably made even more of a difference. Brendon McCullum had emerged to a rousing reception, two places higher than his customary No. 7 position. The intention was clear - New Zealand wanted quick runs to set up a challenging declaration - but that wasn't quite how it mapped out. McCullum blocked his first ball from Monty Panesar, then mowed his second, high and hard over deep midwicket. But he didn't connect as sweetly as intended, and Andrew Strauss made good ground to complete another excellent catch. The wobble was now fully on.
Catch of the day No. 1
It doesn't take much for the vultures to start circling around Hoggard's career. One off-colour game and the talons have quickly been extended, but at the age of 31, he demonstrated his enduring athleticism with an outstanding pluck at deep midwicket. Jamie How connected sweetly, as he has done all summer, but Hoggard judged the flight and his run to perfection. He galloped 20 metres, leapt at the last possible moment, and got both hands to the offering with both feet off the ground. It was an outstanding moment, reminiscent of Darren Gough's outfield extravagances, and it gave England just a sniff of salvation.
Catch of the day No. 2
What is the matter with Alastair Cook? It seems only last week that England had to hide him in the field. Every catch that came his way was juggled at least three times, and even strokes along the ground were an invitation for error. But now he's leaping like a spawning carp every time the ball comes close, and Ryan Sidebottom would not be celebrating his maiden Test hat-trick without his incredible efforts at gully. If his first was good then his second was spectacular, a full lift-off to his left to pouch a fizzing edge from Mathew Sinclair. It was his fifth of the match, and every one has been a collector's item.
Shot of the day
Until their innings started to go pear-shaped, New Zealand's destiny was in the hands of their former captain, Stephen Fleming, who struck the ball as sweetly as ever during his 88-ball 66. Some of his driving was as languid and elegant as David Gower's, with whom he shares a birthday, but it was his pick-up for six off Steve Harmison that really took the breath away. It was short and misdirected, but helped on its way over fine leg with dismissive insouciance. He's got four more innings before he calls time on his career, but on this evidence, he could endure for several seasons yet.
Unexpected acceleration of the day
The pace of New Zealand's innings and the drama of their collapse made the grind and shuffle of England's effort seem like a long-distant memory. But their 11-hour, 867-dot-ball stodgefest really did happen. And Paul Collingwood really did score from just 29 of the 182 balls he faced in a four-hour 66. And so it took everyone by surprise when, in the 157th over of the innings, he galloped down the track to Daniel Vettori and deposited him coolly over long-off for six. Like Kevin Pietersen on the third day, it was a lone statement of aggression.
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