Cricket: Kiwi attack bites back

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire 286-9 dec; New Zealand 4-2

ENCOURAGED by the sun on their backs, the New Zealanders put in a good performance in the field yesterday. Coming on top of their run-chase victory over Glamorgan on Friday, it helped put their innings defeat in the first Test further behind them and, assuming Danny Morrison and Chris Pringle come through this match unscathed, they will approach the Lord's Test on Thursday with more confidence than they possessed going into the Trent Bridge match.

Only the dismissal of Blair Hartland, leg before to Mike Smith at the start of their reply, and of Morrison, just before the close of play, took some of the shine off the tourists' day. Morrison, out of action since pulling a hamstring in the Texaco one-day international three weeks ago, quickly marked his return by yorking the left-handed Simon Hinks with the fifth ball of the morning. Thereafter, he bowled comfortably well within himself and was nursed along carefully.

Even so, after 11 overs the Kiwis had Gloucestershire 36 for three. The ever-improving Dion Nash won the first of his four wickets when Rob Cunliffe edged to Mark Greatbatch at first slip, and in the over after needlessly ducking into a ball from Nash, Tim Hancock inside-edged a lifting delivery from Pringle down on to his stumps. Hancock had played several pleasing strokes, and there was some positive strokeplay, too, from Bobby Dawson in the half-century stand with Mark Alleyne that put Gloucestershire on the road to recovery.

Two of Dawson's onside drives between midwicket and mid-on particularly caught the eye, and he fairly creamed Shane Thompson's first delivery past extra cover. All of which made his dismissal two balls later, tamely pulling the off-spinner's long hop to square leg, doubly disappointing. Dawson knew it as well.

Still, his departure put the onus on Alleyne to get his head down, and his innings of 70 in almost four hours heralded a welcome return to the form that has eluded him this season. If slow to get going, he raced to his fifty with three glorious cover drives in Morrison's first over of the afternoon, and he was playing with increasing fluency when Thompson bowled him as he tried to work him through the onside.

Matt Windows, 21 and just down from Durham University, provided Alleyne with sensible support, and Gloucestershire eked out respectability through dogged thirties from Russell and Ricardo Williams. In general it was all a bit slow, but a spectacular overhead catch by Gavin Larsen to send Williams back and some tailend wagging kept a good-sized crowd entertained until the declaration.

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