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New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Hamilton, 1st day
David Lloyd: England caught brilliantly
March 5, 2008
England have had a good day and they need to make most of the first session on the second morning
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Back in the groove: Monty Panesar was allowed to bowl and that helped him says David Lloyd © Getty Images

Andrew Miller: David, it's a start of a new series and new beginnings for England after two series defeat, but it was not a perfect day for them, they lost an important toss at the beginning of the day.

David Lloyd:

But, Steve Harmison, that enigma of Steve Harmison, he bowled medium pace. I suppose Vaughan wants him to bowl in short spells of five overs, and bowl fast. Even on a sluggish pitch he deals in 88-89 miles per hour and he was nowhere near that. I would say that he was round about 81 miles per hour, which is probably not what England wanted. It maybe that he is easing his way back in, but I am not sure that's the way to go.

AM: What can England do with him, he picked up five wickets in the warm-up game in Dunedin, and he bowled quite well in Sri Lanka. Is there any way of gauging what is going through his head?

DL: Well, I think he has got to bowl more in Test matches to build confidence, to build his pace and it is always talked about why he is not opening the bowling. I know that Bob Willis, who is with us in the commentary box, was epileptic. You've got the biggest asset of all time - you've got pace, you've got height and you've got bounce, let it go for four overs. It was left to accuracy and perseverance of [Mathew] Hoggard and [Ryan] Sidebottom, and they were rock solid performers. Monty Panesar was allowed to bowl by New Zealand. But you just feel that New Zealand have got a means to an end, that they would say - okay, we have won the toss, let's bat for at least day and a half, a day and three quarters, two thirds if they can, runs on the board and then over to two spinners. Once again we saw an electric innings right at the end of the day's play by McCullum, there is no stopping him, he looks really special.

AM: McCullum finished it off nicely, but the man who started off was Jamie How. He is a player who came into his own during the one-day series and he scored a very fine century in the tied game - no one quite knew much about him before this series, where has he come from?

DL: Well, his top score is 37, he was deemed as one-day player, and they needed an opener and he came in the team. He played correctly and in that game plan of New Zealand, to get off to a solid start, not do anything silly and let's get runs on the board and then it will be over to Jeetan Patel, the off-spinner, and Daniel Vettori. He [How] scored 92, and he fell to a perfect delivery from Panesar, he had not spun many and the ball just turned enough to take an outside edge and Collingwood took a terrific catch. But, Jamie How has done his cause no harm by scoring 92, he has never been anywhere near that before, 37 was his top score.

AM: You mentioned Monty quite a lot, he had a tough time in Sri Lanka, only eight wickets at an average of 50, but he looked a bit more like his old self today, didn't he?

DL: Yes, and I think he was allowed to bowl and I think that helped him, [the fact that] he was allowed to come into the attack and to bowl some overs. Just to get a few overs under his belt without anybody playing shots against him. I think that helped. Playing in Sri Lanka with Muralitharan at the other end played on Panesar's mind. Now he has got something different, he has got another left-arm spinner Vettori, and their records are very similar. Daniel Vettori is the most experienced finger spinner in world cricket, but Panesar is the emerging one, so it will be good to see how they go head-to-head. And, I think Panesar would be more relaxed here in New Zealand than he was in Sri Lanka.

AM: Right at the end of the day, England picked up a very important wicket that of Brendon McCullum. You mentioned him, and he is in sensational form and he scored 51 off 55 balls, England have stopped him but they are not able to stop his run-rate.

DL: No, he will think that he has failed. He is just a type of player that you will need in this line-up. The way New Zealand manoeuvre the position and I am absolutely certain that's what they are trying to do with the first six batsmen, and then in comes McCullum and to a lesser extend Vettori, he hits the ball in different areas. McCullum gave the innings the impetus, he is in the form of his life, but I still think that England have had a really good day. If you are on a flat pitch like they are you have to work hard, they have; you have to catch well, they did and they have taken six wickets. I would say tomorrow morning England should push on, they have got a comparatively new ball, nip another couple and they could be batting by the lunch break.

AM: There was one disturbing incident for England early on in the day when Ian Bell got struck, a very painful blow on the wrist. Luckily, x-rays reveal that there is no break but as a former batsman, you would know all about getting hit on the wrist. Is it going to cause a problem when he comes into bat later?

DL: Yes, I know about it for fielding at short-leg as well [laughs]. It was a fearful blow and when he walked off you saw this sort of egg develop on his wrist and I would have said that he has broken his wrist, and that's the end of him and he would be going home. Incredibly, it is just severe bruising, so the medics will be at him to get that swelling down, and of course he has got little of time, he has got overnight, but it will be unbelievably stiff tomorrow, and it remains to be seen whether he can hold the bat. But I think that it is a big bonus for England, they have said that he is fine. Well, he isn't fine but he has not broken, and that is the main thing.

AM: Well, all told, England have stuck at it on a flat wicket. You've been listening to David Lloyd on Cricinfo Talk.

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Posted by rajeevan on (March 5, 2008, 12:45 GMT)

England are missing Freddie! Where are you hiding Freddie? Why do Dngland keep changing the players after a bad game? Look at India, they stuck with Yuvraj and the get the best out of him. I think England should do the same as well. How many comebacks do you want give to Andrew Strauss? Drop him and give the chance to Owais Shah. He captained England Under-19 and they were champs.

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