England revamp attack for 2nd Test

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The Independent Online

England have reacted to their humiliating opening defeat against New Zealand by ruthlessly dropping Ashes heroes Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard for the second Test against New Zealand.

Having suffered a 189-runs opening Test defeat in Hamilton, the tourists were bound to make changes with 30-year-old Durham fast bowler Harmison expected to make way for emerging talent Stuart Broad at the Basin Reserve.

But after monitoring the performance of their whole squad at practice over the last two days, England have also decided to drop Yorkshire seamer Hoggard and introduce Broad and Jimmy Anderson into a new-look attack.

"It was a very tough call," admitted captain Michael Vaughan. "We had a gut feeling that we just needed to make a change and we've gone with two of them.

"We felt the attack just needed a bit of a shake-up and it's a great opportunity for Jimmy and Broady to come in and try and establish themselves at this level.

"I also hope Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison really fight and try and get their places back because that's going to create a healthy environment as well."

Harmison, once rated as the world's fastest bowler, struggled to maintain a pace much above 80mph for most of the opening Test and claimed match figures of one for 121 from his 27 overs.

Hoggard was equally disappointing as New Zealand piled up 470 in their first innings, claiming one for 122 in his 26 overs, but improved during their second innings and was thought to have enough stock in the bank to be given another chance.

It is the first time the duo have been dropped since helping England regain the Ashes in 2005 and leaves the tourists with a vastly inexperienced seam attack with only 32 caps between Ryan Sidebottom, Anderson and Broad.

"It's quite an exciting time," added Vaughan. "I'm leading a new attack into a Test match.

"It certainly looks very exciting, even if it is a little bit lacking in experience but I think they have enough talent to take them through and put the New Zealand batsmen under a lot of pressure."

Ironically, the two changes to the bowling attack follow successive Tests where England's batsmen have failed to deliver having been dismissed for 81 against Sri Lanka in Galle before Christmas and for 110 in Hamilton.

But Vaughan stressed: "It was a really hard decision, but when you're in a position like we are you have to make the odd tough decision and it was just a gut feeling that Jimmy deserved his opportunity.

"It's a very tough call on Hoggy but we've gone with that and hopefully it will be the right decision.

"From last week and maybe a little bit from Galle as well that the attack needed a bit of a shake-up. We've gone with that and hopefully the young lads with thrive with the opportunity and come out and put on a good display."

Asked whether England had considered making a change in the batting line-up, Vaughan added: "Not really...a change was talked about but we thought they deserved another opportunity to try and put it right this week."

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