Cricket: Alleyne's A team suffer in New Zealand

By Graham Alltree in Christchurch
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The Independent Online
EVEN THE senior England side would have bowed their heads in shame had they suffered the day their A team did in the First Test here yesterday.

England A's unbeaten record stretching back 33 matches is in peril, after Mark Alleyne's men were bowled out for 123 in reply to New Zealand A's first-innings 261. The tourists then finished the day with an overall deficit of 240, as their opponents closed the third day of five on 102 for 2.

The bad news was not confined to the field as it was confirmed that Ronnie Irani has chicken pox and must remain in isolation until 8 December. Michael Gough has gone down with similar symptoms.

On the field things initially went according to plan. The three outstanding New Zealand wickets fell for 26 runs, but then in good conditions England started disastrously. Ian Ward was bowled, Vikram Solanki fell to a disputed caught-behind decision and Marcus Trescothick miscued a pull to mid-on - all off Chris Drum. When David Sales was bowled by Andrew Penn the scoreboard read 22 for 4 and the nightmare was well under way.

After lunch it soon became worse as Alleyne cut a ball from Penn to second slip where Scott Styris held a brilliant catch on the second attempt.

Aftab Habib and Rob Turner appeared to have stopped the rot with a partnership of 32, before both were caught with the score stuck on 73. Chris Schofield set about inching his side towards avoiding the follow-on, but it was left to Alamgir Sheriyar to help reduce the deficit to 138.

New Zealand's batsmen then made careful progress. A superb catch by Trescothick in the gully off Sheriyar accounted for Gary Stead, and then an even better effort by Solanki at second slip dismissed Matthew Sinclair off James Kirtley.

England A won toss; Third day of five

NEW ZEALAND A - First innings

(Overnight 235-7; M H Richardson 74, M S Sinclair 62)

G J Hopkins b Franks 20

A J Penn lbw b Kirtley 27

P J Wiseman c Turner b Kirtley 9

G J Drum not out 4

Extras (b5 lb7 nb7) 19

Total (98.5 overs) 261

Fall: 8-235 9-256

Bowling: Franks 21-7-44-2; Sheriyar 24-3-74-0; Kirtley 18.5-4-54-5 Alleyne 11-5-22-1; Schofield 24-9-55-2

ENGLAND A - First Innings

I J Ward b Drum 8

M E Trescothick c Penn b Drum 8

V S Solanki c Hopkins b Drum 2

D J Sales b Penn 8

*M W Alleyne c Styris b Penn 8

A Habib c Stead b Penn 19

R J Turner c Sinclair b Wisneski 12

C P Schofield c Styris b Wisneski 23

P J Franks c Vincent b Wiseman 17

R J Kirtley c Vincent b Penn 3

A Sheriyar not out 5

Extras (lb7 nb3) 10

Total (51.5 overs) 123

Fall: 1-8 2-12 3-26 4-33 5-41 6-73 7-73 8-98 9-109.

Bowling: Drum 11-4-34-3; Wisneski 16.5-5-32-2; Penn 14-52-1-4; Styris 6-1-17-0; Wiseman 4-0-12-1.

NEW ZEALAND A - Second Innings

*G R Stead c Trescothick b Sheriyar 12

M D Bell not out 45

M S Sinclair c Solanki b Kirtley 3

L Vincent not out 37

Extras (b3 lb1 nb1) 5

Total (for 2, 36 overs) 102

Fall: 1-21 2-32.

To Bat: M H Richardson, S B Styris, G J Hopkins, W A Wisneski, P J Wiseman, A J Penn, G J Drum.

Bowling: Franks 9-2-22-0; Sheriyar 12-2-30-1; Kirtley 9-3-25-1; Schofield 6-1-21-0.

Umpires: B F Bowden and R D Anderson.