Angus Fraser: Sidebottom hat-trick stuns Black Caps

New Zealand v England, First Test, Hamilton, Day 4

Ryan Sidebottom became the eleventh England bowler to take a Test hat-trick in a remarkable spell of bowling that produced a sensational turnaround in the first Test.

For 11 consecutive sessions New Zealand had been in complete control of the match but in five crazy overs Michael Vaughan's side gave themselves a realistic, unexpected and some might say undeserved chance of completing one of the unlikeliest comebacks in Test cricket's rich and unpredictable history.

After dismissing England for 348, a total that gave New Zealand a first innings lead of 122, Jamie How and Stephen Fleming nonchalantly extended their advantage to 221 for the loss of one wicket. The only question on everyone's lips was how many would New Zealand score before they chose to declare.

But all that changed in five sensational overs, during which the Black Caps lost five wickets for 16 runs. Nobody could have predicted such mayhem was about to break out - the previous 329 overs of cricket had yielded just 21 wickets - and by the close of an emotionally exhausting day New Zealand had stuttered to 147-8, a total that gives them a lead of 269.

Daniel Vettori, the Black Caps captain, who is unbeaten on 13 will want the teams' last two wickets to add at least another 30 runs and occupy the crease for 10 to 15 overs, to leave England chasing more than 300 in 75-80 overs. The total would still be gettable but England would have to bat with far more purpose than they did in their first innings.

The major problem on this pitch is that batting aggressively, as New Zealand attempted to do here, brings danger and the question is will England be brave enough to risk defeat in search of victory. Much will depend on the start they get. If the openers can see off the new ball and score at three an over for the first 20 overs, anything is possible

It was in desperation that Vaughan turned to Sidebottom. Stephen Harmison had been flogged for 24 runs in four indifferent overs and Vaughan just wanted somebody to give him a modicum of control. Thoughts of winning the Test would not have entered the England captain's head.

In many ways it was Matthew Hoggard, who took a stunning diving catch on the deep mid-wicket boundary that instigated the collapse. How had moved confidently to 39 when he whipped a Sidebottom delivery over mid-wicket and as the ball travelled through the air the only concern for a sizeable crowd was whether it was going for four or six. But then Hoggard appeared from nowhere leaping high and to his left to take the best catch of his career.

Then came a sequence of events that Sidebottom will never forget. Against the final ball of Sidebottom's eighth over Fleming, who had batted beautiful for his 66, sliced a drive/cut to wide gully only to see Alastair Cook dive salmon like to his left to take a superb catch. Even now, with New Zealand's lead at 231, nobody would have predicted what was to follow.

The Black caps, confident that the game was theirs for the taking, then sent in Brendon McCullum to accelerate the scoring rate. Many believed the powerful hitter should have opened the batting but he heaved at the second ball he faced and top-edged a skier, which was well held by Andrew Strauss running back at mid-on.

The first ball of Sidebottom's next over was a poor one but it produced a crude shot from Matthew Sinclair and Cook took another astonishing catch. The delivery was full and wide and Sinclair slashed hard at it. The ball flew high to Cook's left and he leapt, arching backwards in the air, to cling on to another stunning catch.

England's catching has received plenty of criticism in the recent past but it has been absolutely magnificent in this Test. It is hard to believe an England side has ever caught better and without it they their thoughts would only be on drawing the match.

Sidebottom had not realised it but this was the second time in the day that he had the chance of taking a hat trick. In New Zealand's first innings he had taken the final two wickets with consecutive deliveries but he had forgotten about it and the hat trick ball had been nudged by Jamie How to fine leg for one.

This time Sidebottom was fully aware of what was at stake and he bowled the perfect ball. It was full and straight, swinging slightly in to Jacob Oram as he pushed tentatively forward. The ball hit him half way up the shin and would have gone on to middle stump. Every Englishman in the ground appealed and umpire Daryl Harper, after plenty of thought, raised his finger.

Sidebottom ran off through extra cover with his hair and his team-mates in his wake. It was a glorious scene as Vaughan's side engulfed their hero and nothing less than Sidebottom deserved. It was only a surprise that his parents, sat in the stands, did not run out to join in the ecstatic celebrations. The wicket left New Zealand in desperate trouble on 115-6 and with a lead of just 237.

It was the 36th hat trick in Test cricket and, ironically, the last three England players to complete the feat have all been Yorkshiremen. Darren Gough did it in Sydney against Australia in January 1995 and Hoggard secured his against the West Indies in Barbados in April 2004. When the triumvirate meet in the pavilion at Headingley in 20 years time comparisons and arguments of who's was the best are bound to take place.

With Sidebottom tiring Panesar then came in to his own. Clever flight lured Ross Taylor, on his 24th birthday, in to chipping a catch back to the bowler before Kyle Mills missed an attempted sweep and was correctly given out lbw.

Vettori and Jeetan Patel survived til the close and they have further work to do tomorrow morning with the bat, and then in the afternoon with the ball.

What a brilliant and unpredictable game Test cricket is.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick