Cricket: Kiwi delay gives tourists slim hope

New Zealand A 261 & 278-9 dec England A 123 & 6-1
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The Independent Online
ALAMGIR SHERIYAR helped England A's cause with six wickets here yesterday, but it was the delay of their opponents' declaration that has given Mark Alleyne's team a glimpse of survival after the fourth day of the first Test.

The hosts batted on from 102 for 2 overnight to make 278 for 9, leaving England facing an improbable 417 to win. England's misery was compounded when Ian Ward was bowled first ball by a shooter but bad light then robbed the Kiwis of 31 overs, which granted the tourists an unwarranted lifeline.

Earlier, Sheriyar bowled impressively to finish with 6 for 70. It was a turning point in what had been a disappointing tour for Worcestershire's left-arm seamer, and he admitted: "It hadn't really kicked off for me until today."

Sheriyar started the tour badly when he was involved in some bad-tempered exchanges on the field in Bangladesh where England played before moving on to New Zealand. He said: "I struggled to get a place in the team in Bangladesh, missed a couple of games here and then didn't get a wicket in the first innings - so this is wonderful. You tend to tense up when things aren't going too well for you, and that's when the problems start. But I think today it was a bonus that I managed to relax for the first time on the trip and managed to bowl like I know I can."

England helped themselves in the field by slowing down the tempo and ensuring only 80 runs were added in the morning session of 36 overs, while two wickets were lost. Matthew Bell (58) chipped Alleyne to mid-off, and Lou Vincent (64) was caught behind off Sheriyar.

Alleyne deserved his wicket for conceding only 11 runs from his first eight overs, while James Kirtley bowled a spell of seven overs that produced only seven runs. After lunch, England continued to chip away at the batting order. Scott Styris was caught in the slips off Sheriyar, who then picked up the next three wickets. Gareth Hopkins was caught at gully and Rob Turner took two more behind the wicket.

Paul Franks then dismissed Paul Wiseman, and it was from that point that the Kiwis loitered without intent as Mark Richardson (67no) held the lower order together without increasing the tempo.

England, however, have plenty of work to do to preserve their long, unbeaten record.

England A won toss; fourth day of five

NEW ZEALAND A - First Innings 261 (M H Richardson 74, M S Sinclair 62, R J Kirtley 5-54).

ENGLAND A - First Innings 123.

NEW ZEALAND A - Second Innings

G R Stead c Trescothick b Sheriyar 12

M D Bell c Franks b Alleyne 58

M S Sinclair c Solanki b Kirtley 3

L Vincent c Turner b Sheriyar 64

M H Richardson not out 67

S B Styris c Sales b Sheriyar 14

G J Hopkins c Trescothick b Sheriyar 7

W A Wisneski c Turner b Sheriyar 9

A J Penn c Turner b Sheriyar 0

P J Wiseman c Trescothick b Franks 22

G J Drum not out 4

Extras (b5, lb8, w3, nb2) 18

Total (for 9 dec, 105 overs) 278

Fall: 1-21, 2-32, 3-123, 4-153, 5-182, 6-198, 7-222, 8-222, 9-261.

Bowling: Franks 23-5-56-1; Sheriyar 26-5-70-6; Kirtley 28-11-65-1; Schofield 12-1-42-0; Alleyne 16-5-32-1.

ENGLAND A - Second Innings

I J Ward b Drum 0

M E Trescothick not out 2

V S Solanki not out 2

Extras (lb2) 2

Total (for 1, 3 overs) 6

Fall: 1-0.

To bat: D J Sales, *M W Alleyne, A Habib, R J Turner, C P Schofield, P J Franks, R J Kirtley, A Sheriyar.

Bowling: Drum 2-1-3-1; Wisneski 1-0-1-0.

Umpires: B F Bowden and R D Anderson.