Cricket / Second Test: Nash dashes English hopes: New Zealanders find themselves a new hero but last pair cling on to avoid the follow-on

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ANY HOPES England cherished of continuing their winning streak were dashed within the first half-hour of yesterday's play. By dismissing Gooch, Atherton and Smith in quick succession, New Zealand's 'no- hopers' made a mockery of some appalling pre-match publicity and, in Dion Nash, discovered a new hero.

In the end, England came within a whisker of following on as the last pair of Steven Rhodes and Peter Such nervously saw them past the 277 mark that meant New Zealand would bat again. Lord's held its collective breath in the late afternoon sunshine as the last two batsmen survived on luck and adrenalin.

For Nash, the 22-year-old fast-medium bowler who returned figures of two for 153 at Trent Bridge, it was a memorable day. Bowling with zest, he extracted more from the pitch than any bowler on either side and his six for 76 was the best performance by any Kiwi bowler in a Test match at Lord's.

England's slow scoring had more legitimacy about it than when New Zealand had batted under less pressurised circumstances. Nevertheless, the Kiwis allowed far fewer opportunities for free scoring, and Matthew Hart and Chris Pringle both bowled steadily in support of Nash's more incisive forays.

For visiting batsmen (and this includes all those who don't play for Middlesex) the slope at Lord's can prove troublesome, as the ground drops some 11 feet across the square, from the Grandstand to the Mound Stand. Facing bowling from the Pavilion End, the batsman's dilemma is whether to play at balls pitching six inches outside the off stump, the slope suggesting that most deliveries will come back towards the batsman.

Alec Stewart, facing Nash from the Pavilion End, opted for a nibble at a wideish ball that bounced and stayed up the slope. Graham Gooch, from the same end, decided to leave a ball from the same bowler, only to be caught strokeless on the crease as the ball cut back sharply into his front pad. Robin Smith got one that bounced and stayed up the slope and Michael Atherton, batting at the Nursery End, was defeated by a ball that skipped on as he played back, as if expecting some gentle turn.

Nash, who had run a few past Gooch's outside edge on Friday evening, was generally hitting the right line and length, while getting the ball to hold up going up the slope. Gooch clearly had this in the back of his mind as he faced his first ball of the morning, which nipped back instead and he was sent him packing, lbw not offering a stroke.

At 101 for four, England were clearly in need of some urgent restoration. But the New Zealanders bowled with zest, and their captain Ken Rutherford utilised his meagre resources by setting some imaginative fields. Sensing that England might try to shore things up by getting on the front foot, his placement of two close fielders on the off side meant that Craig White and Graeme Hick could not afford to be loose on anything pitched up.

Both batsmen, having survived early chances at silly point, went about their task with great care and patience. Only an impatient shot by Hick as he attempted to loft Matthew Hart over the top belied a period of dour entrenchment that saw him take 74 minutes to reach double figures.

All the while, White batted with commendable maturity, playing cautiously, but latching on to anything loose with relish. He was particularly severe on deliveries outside off-stump and he smashed boundaries off front foot and back to the cover fence. Just after lunch, he dispatched successive short balls off Nash past point, his poise betraying the fact that such shots are learned on the true pitches of Australia and not the puddings of Pudsey.

White had a let-off on 40 when a top-edged hook was misjudged by Michael Owens at long leg, but he went powerfully to his first fifty in Test cricket when he ran a quick two to square leg. Attempting the same ruse an over later, he was run out by a superb pick-up and throw from Nash at square leg, after Steve Bucknor asked for another lengthy consultation with the third umpire, Roy Palmer.

After playing so patiently, such a risk seemed crass, and the blame can safely be placed at the door of one-day cricket. Having said that, it took three slow motion replays on the television before White was given out, the victim, it seems, of some freeze-frame fraction. Certainly, the technology in the press box could not have allowed us to come to such a decision, and only a year ago White would have been allowed to continue his excellent innings.

His partnership with Hick was worth 92 valuable runs as England looked towards the follow-on figure of 277. If such a wasted wicket upset Hick it did not show, and he too began to play some expansive cover drives as he made his way to 50. Like Smith (whose place must now be in some doubt) Hick needed a good score in this match, and his half-century was made in demanding circumstances, if not against the most demanding of bowling.

Partnered by Rhodes, his Worcestershire team-mate and a gritty fighter, Hick began to open his shoulders. But just as it looked as though his detractors may be silenced for another fortnight, he skied a leg-side delivery to gully as the ball took the leading edge.

Phillip DeFreitas was unlucky, given out to a catch down the leg-side when sweeping the off-spinner Shane Thomson, and the New Zealand bowlers could consider themselves fortunate that their cause was still moving in the right direction after a lacklustre session immediately after lunch.

However, Nash returned to take the new ball in the last session and removed both Angus Fraser and Paul Taylor, before Such and Rhodes saved the day. But we have not heard the last of Dion Nash.

SCOREBOARD FROM LORD'S

(New Zealand won toss)

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 476 (M D Crowe 142, S A Thomson 69, D J Nash 56).

ENGLAND - First innings

(Overnight: 94 for 1)

* M A Atherton lbw b Hart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

(missed straight ball; 108 min, 83 balls, 5 fours)

G A Gooch lbw b Nash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

(shouldered arms to off-cutter; 46 min, 41 balls, 2 fours)

R A Smith c and b Nash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

(skied attempted pull; 15 min, 10 balls, 1 four)

G A Hick c Young b Pringle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58

(skied off leading edge; 213 min, 147 balls, 5 fours)

C White run out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

(going for quick two; 127 min, 129 balls, 7 fours)

S J Rhodes not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

(211 min, 162 balls, 2 fours)

P A J DeFreitas c Parore b Thomson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

(caught down leg side sweeping; 23 min, 26 balls, 1 four)

A R C Fraser c and b Nash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

(72 min, 67 balls; chipped return catch)

J P Taylor c Parore b Nash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(10 min, 7 balls; edged to keeper)

P M Such c Parore b Nash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

(25 min, 18 balls; thin edge to keeper)

Extras (b4 lb12 nb7). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

Total (461 min, 121 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .281

Fall (cont): 2-95 (Gooch), 3-95 (Atherton), 4-101 (Smith), 5-193 (White), 6-225 (Hick), 7-241 (DeFreitas), 8-265 (Fraser), 9-271 (Taylor), 10-281 (Such).

Bowling: Owens 7-0-34-0 (nb2) (5-0-26-0, 2-0-8-0); Nash 25-6-76-6 (nb3) (2-0-5-0, 3-0-17-1, 6-2-9-2, 5-0-28-0, 9-4-17-3); Pringle 23-5-65-1 (nb3) (3-0-22-0, 4-1-10-0, 5-0-16-0, 4-0-11-1, 7-4-6-0); Hart 44- 21-50-1 (24-12-31-1, 19-9-18-0, 1-0-1-0); Thomson 22-8-40-1 (1-1-0-0, 4-1-11-0, 4-0-14-0, 7-2-12-0, 6-4-3- 1).

Progress: Third day: 100: 115 min, 29 overs. 150: 215 min, 57.3 overs. Lunch: 161-4 (Hick 25, White 32) 59 overs. 200: 259 min, 67.5 overs. Tea: 238-6 (Rhodes 16, DeFreitas 8) 91 overs. 250: 387 min, 104.1 overs. New ball: 104.1 overs at 252-7. Innings closed: 5.58pm.

Hick's 50: 178 min, 120 balls, 5 fours.

White's 50: 122 min, 125 balls, 7 fours.

Umpires: S A Bucknor and N T Plews.

(Photograph omitted)

Comments