Cricket: Thorpe takes command

SECOND TEST: England extend their advantage after Vettori strikes
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The Independent Online
New Zealand 124 England 282-4

The fall of Nasser Hussain in the third over this morning probably gave New Zealand more hope for the future than it did of saving this game. England may have been dominant on this third m,orning of the second Test, but in a few years' time all of New Zealand will have good cause to look back in pride to the moment when Daniel Vettori took his first Test wicket.

It was a joyous moment for the teenager, who is New Zealand's youngest- ever player at this level, and he was warmly congratulated by spectators and team-mates.

Extracting some turn, Vettori had the England vice-captain caught by Bryan Young at slip after the edge had deflected off Lee Germon's gloves as Hussain tried to force the spinner away off the back foot. It was a notable double for Vettori, who had Hussain stumped in Hamilton a fortnight ago during the match against Northern Districts.

Vettori's success brought to an end the 107-run partnership between Hussain and Graham Thorpe, who had earlier cut Dipak Patel to the cover fence to notch up yet another Test match fifty, the 20th of his career.

It was a typically pugnacious effort from Thorpe who began to use his feet to combat both spinners as they probed for the rough outside his off stump. On 53, he enjoyed a stroke of luck off Vettori, when Blair Pocock dropped him at short-leg off a difficult chance, the ball coming off the meat of the bat.

That certainly was not the case for John Crawley who, facing Patel on nought, was lucky to receive the benefit of the umpire Doug Cowie's benevolence after Stephen Fleming had caught him, as television replays showed, off pad and glove at silly point.

Soon after, Thorpe was given a stern talking to by umpire Steve Bucknor for running down the pitch, an old ruse designed to loosen the surface for England's spinners later in the game.

At that juncture, however, New Zealand took the new ball, a decision that had some justification when Thorpe was struck on the earpiece by Geoff Allott. The shock of the blow forced the Surrey left-hander into something of a bunker and he left the bulk of the scoring to Crawley until the spinners returned just before lunch. Having seen off the new ball, Crawley immediately asserted himself by hitting Patel for a massive six over long-on.

New Zealand won toss

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 204 (D Gough 5-40)

ENGLAND - First Innings

(Overnight: 204 for 3)

N Hussain c Young b Vettori 64

G P Thorpe not out 86

J P Crawley not out 33

Extras (b1 lb5 nb2) 9

Total (for 4, 102 overs) 282

Fall cont: 4-213 (Hussain).

To bat:, R D B Croft, D G Cork, D Gough, A R Caddick, P C R Tufnell.

Bowling: Doull 18-5-54-2; Allott 25-5-72-1; Vettori 25-8-61-1; Cairns 4-2-8-0; Astle 11-4-24-0; Patel 17-3-46-0; Pocock 2-0-10-0.

Umpires: S A Bucknor and D B Cowie.

TV replay umpire: E A Watkin.

Match referee: P J P Burge.