Caddick reaches milestone as Kiwis hit trouble

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The Independent Online

Andrew Caddick reached the milestone of 200 Test wickets in the first session of play in the final Test here early today, the ninth England bowler to achieve the feat. Taking 3-24 in his opening spell, he reached the magic figure in the final over before lunch, when he had Craig McMillian lbw for 41 to leave New Zealand 82-5 at lunch.

Caddick, who began the match with 196 victims, quickly removed Mark Richardson, the home side's most consistent batsmen of the series. A compact organised player, he could do little about the snorter that Caddick produced in his third over of the day.

Swinging into the left-hander, it moved even more sharply off the pitch beating his defensive push to hit off-stump. It was such a good ball that even if he had managed to close the gap between bat and pad, he would have probably been lbw.

With Matthew Hoggard removing the captain Stephen Fleming three overs later, caught at short-leg off bat and pad, it was clear that there was lavish movement in this pitch. But if the wisdom of Fleming's decision to bat first was looking suspect, it was officially confirmed as bonkers when Caddick jagged one back between bat and pad sharply to flatten Lou Vincent's off-stump.

Vincent has looked technically suspect all series, but even soft hands and an angled defensive bat cannot save you as Nathan Astle found out when Caddick got one to bounce steeply from a full length. Apart from missing it completely, Astle could not have played it much better, though he looked dejected as he watched Graham Thorpe, diving full length to his left, to pluck the edge inches from the ground.

At that point, New Zealand who need to win this Test, in order to share this series, found themselves 19-4 and relying on Chris Harris, one of three changes New Zealand have made for this Test. Harris last played a Test three years ago, but is averaging 95 in first-class domestic cricket. A gritty left-hander he managed to halt the slide in concert with McMillian, whose more aggressive approach saw him take three leg-side fours in over off Andrew Flintoff. It was just what the home side needed and two boundaries later the pair's stand went past the 50.

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