England 77-3 v New Zealand
England v New Zealand ODI (New Zealand won toss, 12.4 overs)
Wednesday 18 June 2008
The Birmingham weather has been unkind to England and New Zealand, delaying the start of today's second one-day international between the teams until three o'clock and forcing the players off the field again after 54 minutes - but that was still time enough for Luke Wright to grab himself a headline-making score.
The Sussex all-rounder took over from a rather subdued Kevin Pietersen - no switch shots this time - to smash a 33-ball half century after New Zealand had chosen to bowl first in the damp conditions in their attempt to square the five-match series at 1-1.
The Kiwis sent Ian Bell back into the hut for nought after only three balls in front of his home crowd and restricted Pietersen to a modest 13 from 20 balls after his amazing exploits at Chester-le-Street. Bell spooned a catch to Daniel Vettori at mid-off as his attempt to hit Kyle Mills through mid-wicket flew off the leading edge. Pietersen's attempt to hit Michael Mason over the top also found the hands of the New Zealand skipper.
But there was no restricting Wright, who scored 19 in one over against Mason, including sixes off consecutive balls over the bowler's head and then high over mid-wicket.
His sixth four, off debutant Grant Elliott, took him to 52 - his highest score in 18 one-day internationals - and threatened to do more damage to poor Daniel Flynn's teeth, bouncing dangerously close to the diving Kiwi fielder's mouth as it flew across the outfield.
Wright holed out to Scott Styris at mid-off off Elliott just as heavy rain arrived in a match already reduced to 29 overs per side and set to be cut further now, although by a quarter past four the sky was brightening and the groundstaff preparing to remove the covers.
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