Angus Fraser: Anderson gives England control

Click to follow
The Independent Online

James Anderson and England's reshaped bowling attack showed that there will be life after Matthew Hoggard and Stephen Harmison when they bowled Michael Vaughan's side right back in to the three Test series against New Zealand.

England's decision to drop both Hoggard and Harmison after poor displays in the first Test surprised many but Anderson's lively away swing bowling on the second day of the second Test claimed the fine figures of 5-73 and fully justified the selectors' verdict as the Black Caps were bundled out for 198 in their first innings.

England's openers, Alastair Cook and Michael Vaughan, increased England's lead by four runs to 149 by the close to complete an extremely satisfying day for the tourists. The performance gives Vaughan's under-fire side an excellent chance of levelling the three Test series at 1-1 during the course of the next three days.

Anderson's England career to date has been a riddle. At his best, as he was for large parts of last night's play, he is a cracker - a fit, energetic bowler that is capable of bowling fast away swingers. It is a combination that troubles the best batsmen in the world. But when his mood is not right, as it has been on far too many occasions since his England debut in 2002, he is a huge frustration.

Anderson and England made immediate in-roads in to New Zealand's long batting line-up after being dismissed for 342 in the morning session. With his fifth ball Anderson produced an absolute ripper to dismiss Matthew Bell. The opener should have been attempting to play the ball down the ground rather than work it to leg but it would have removed far better players than him.

In his third over Anderson accounted for Jamie How, who edged an away swinger to Andrew Strauss at first slip to leave the hosts in trouble on 9-2 at lunch. Soon after the interval Matthew Sinclair became the 25 year-olds third victim when he feathered a defensive push through to England's centurion, Tim Ambrose.

Stephen Fleming and Ross Taylor doused the fire in England's bowlers with a 71 run partnership. The pair were helped by Monty Panesar who had a shocking day in the field but, inevitably, it was Anderson who made the breakthrough when the former New Zealand captain mis-timed a horrible waft at a short ball to Kevin Pietersen in the gully.

Ryan Sidebottom trapped Jacob Oram in front and when Anderson found the outside edge of Taylor's bat on 53, to claim the fourth five-wicket haul of his career. New Zealand, on 113-6, looked like they may fall short of the follow-on target of 143.

Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum took the Black Caps past the landmark in swashbuckling style before Stuart Broad claimed his second Test wicket. McCullum was dancing around the crease like Fred Astaire before Broad found his outside edge and Strauss took the catch.

Vettori attempted to winkle runs out of the tail and played several classy shots, the best being an uppercut for six over third man off the bowling of Broad. The stroke took him to his half century. Paul Collingwood cleaned up the tail, taking the final three wickets to claim career best figures of 3-23.

England began the second day hoping to push on to a first innings total of 400 but those ambitions failed to materialise against a refreshed Black Caps seam attack that once again made the most of a helpful pitch. England's collapse, which saw them lose their last five wickets for the addition of just 42 runs, came after Tim Ambrose had somewhat fortuitously completed his maiden Test hundred.

Ambrose ended the first day tentatively on 97. In the final over he played and missed at four deliveries from the excellent Oram. And the combination continued in Oram's initial over of the day, when three deliveries flashed past the edge of Ambrose's bat. But the hundred came off the first ball of Oram's next over when a think, uncontrolled outside edge flew through a vacant third slip and down to the third man boundary for four.

Ambrose stood still in his crease to begin with, almost in disbelief, before Collingwood jogged down and gave him a hug. The helmet was removed and the arms raised high as he acknowledged the warm applause of the thousands of England fans at the Basin Reserve. It was the first overseas Test century struck by an England wicket-keeper since Alec Stewart hit 173 against the same opposition 11 years ago in Auckland.

Ambrose's joy did not last long; five balls later he edged Kyle Mills to Taylor second slip. Broad soon followed him when Oram bowled him behind his legs. Broad could consider himself unlucky, the delivery struck him on his right thigh guard and somehow rolled back on to his stumps.

England's hopes of posting a major total now depended on Collingwood, who had earlier brought up his ninth Test 50 when he cut Mills for four. Collingwood pulled Oram for four but the extra pace of Mark Gillespie defeated his forward lunge and trapped him in front.

Ryan Sidebottom then top edged a heave at the same bowler and was caught at mid on, and England's innings closed when Monty Panesar gloved a well-directed short ball from Gillespie down the leg side to Brendon McCullum.