Those who watched England's awful performance against the West Indies on Sunday would have left Trent Bridge feeling that things could only improve for Michael Vaughan and his one-day side. They were wrong. England's batting in yesterday's NatWest series match against New Zealand at Chester-le-Street was even more wretched than that witnessed in Nottingham.
Those who watched England's awful performance against the West Indies on Sunday would have left Trent Bridge feeling that things could only improve for Michael Vaughan and his one-day side. They were wrong. England's batting in yesterday's NatWest Series match against New Zealand here was even more wretched than that )witnessed in Nottingham.
For the second time in three days England's fragile line-up capitulated and the tournament hosts were again bowled out for a meagre total. England's score of 101 was their sixth lowest in the 392 one-day matches they have played and it took New Zealand just 17.2 overs to coast to a seven-wicket victory.
The crowd were understandably annoyed that their one day of international cricket in 2004 had ended so quickly and showed their dissatisfaction by booing Vaughan and his team as they left the pitch. This match was supposed to be a day-night encounter but it lasted just 50.1 overs and had finished before 7.0pm.
The loss leaves England firmly rooted to the bottom of the table and in severe danger of not making the showpiece final at Lord's on 10 July. To qualify Vaughan's side now need to win their three remaining matches against the West Indies and New Zealand. If they continue to play as they are, it is difficult to see them winning a single game.
"Getting bowled out for 147 and 101 is not good enough," admitted Vaughan. "As a group the batters are not playing well enough. We are not giving our bowlers the chance to win a game of cricket. We gave them a few wickets. Tres [Marcus Trescothick] will be the first to admit that he probably chose the wrong option. We have to agree that when we bat first, we make sure that we put a competitive total on the board."
If England are to do this, runs are needed from Vaughan and Trescothick and this pair must accept a large proportion of the blame for this desperate performance because the responsibility of posting a competitive total rests largely on their shoulders. The remainder of England's batting is unproven or short of class and it is vital for them to give England a decent start.
At Trent Bridge both were guilty of playing careless shots before they were accustomed to the pace and bounce of the pitch and yesterday they were even more culpable. Each was bowled playing an attacking shot on a surface which demanded a sharp eye and a sound technique.
It is hard to work out exactly what England's game plan is. Surely Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, must realise the limitations of his side and ask his main players to bat accordingly. Yet Trescothick batted he shimmied down the wicket to the second ball of the match as though he had Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid coming in below him.
Jacob Oram cleaned bowled the Somerset left-hander when he missed a heave at a straight ball but it was James Franklin who created havoc and took career best figures of 5 for 42.
A month ago, the left-arm seamer was playing club cricket for Rishton in the Lancashire League and preparing for another season playing first-class cricket for Wellington. But following injuries to Shane Bond and poor bowling displays by Chris Martin and Daryl Tuffey during the Test series he found himself drafted into the Black Caps' squad.
Vaughan was the first to fall to the 23-year-old when he attempted to drive an in-swinger and was bowled. Oram forced Geraint Jones to cut a ball on to his stumps before Franklin cut through England's middle order, taking four wickets in five overs.
Paul Collingwood drove loosely and edged a catch to Gareth Hopkins, who claimed his first international scalp behind the stumps, and Andrew Strauss soon followed when he top-edged a pull shot to fine-leg.
England were now on 51 for 5 but worse was to follow in the final over of Franklin's spell. With the first ball of the over he trapped Ian Blackwell plumb in front and then, with the next, produced a beautiful delivery to dismiss Ashley Giles. Darren Gough survived the hat-trick ball, but only just. It rapped him on the pads but pitched outside leg stump.
Gough did not last long and when he was caught in the slips off Chris Cairns England were looking at their lowest one-day score. This seemed inevitable when Anthony McGrath edged an attempted cut shot through to the keeper but Stephen Harmison and James Anderson somehow took England to three figures before Daniel Vettori finished the innings off.
As in Nottingham, England had to attack with the new ball and hope they could produce something remarkable. Harmison roared in with the cheers of his home crowd in his ears and bowled with pace and hostility. He averaged more than 90mph during his seven-over spell and bowled the quickest ball of his career 96mph.
He was rewarded with three wickets, but England travel to Leeds for tomorrow's match against the West Indies with plenty to ponder. Another defeat will force the selectors to rethink their whole one-day strategy.
Vaughan and Gough have wallets stolen
Michael Vaughan and Darren Gough had their wallets stolen from the England dressing-room while they were practising at Chester-le-Street on Monday. Along with Vaughan's £1,200 expenses was a ticket from the recent Test against the West Indies in Antigua, signed by Brian Lara after his record innings of 400 not out.
England's six lowest ODI scores:
86 v Australia, Old Trafford, 2001
88 v Sri Lanka, Dambulla, 2003-04
89 v New Zealand, Wellington, 2001-02
93 v Australia, Headingley, 1975
94 v Australia, Melbourne, 1978-79
101 v New Zealand, Chester-le-Street, 2004
New Zealand won the toss
M E Trescothick b Oram 14
19min, 19 balls, 3 fours
*M P Vaughan b Franklin 12
24min, 18 balls, 2 fours
ÝG O Jones b Oram 5
16min, 11 balls
A J Strauss c Oram b Franklin 8
39min, 29 balls
P D Collingwood c Hopkins b Franklin 2
11min, 7 balls
A McGrath c Hopkins b Oram 12
54min, 38 balls, 1 four
I D Blackwell lbw b Franklin 5
15min, 11 balls, 1 four
A F Giles c Hopkins b Franklin 0
1min, 1 ball
D Gough c Fleming b Cairns 7
14min, 12 balls, 1 four
S J Harmison not out 13
38min, 30 balls, 1 four
J M Anderson b Vettori 11
32min, 27 balls, 1 four
Extras (lb 4, w 2, nb 6) 12
Total (136min, 32.5 overs) 101
Fall: 1-24 (Trescothick); 2-30 (Vaughan); 3-37 (Jones); 4-44 (Collingwood); 5-51 (Strauss); 6-65 (Blackwell); 7-65 (Giles); 8-76 (Gough); 9-78 (McGrath); 10-101 (Anderson).
Bowling: Oram 10-0-23-3 (nb3, w1) (6-0-12-2, 4-0-11-1); Franklin 10-1-42-5 (nb3, w1); Cairns 10-2-27-1; Styris 2-1-4-0; Vettori 0.5-0-1-1 (one spell each).
Progress: 50: 58min, 85 balls. 15 overs: 51-4. 100: 130min, 196 balls.
*S P Fleming c Gough b Harmison 31
41min, 34 balls, 5 fours
N J Astle lbw b Harmison 15
45min, 27 balls, 3 fours
H J H Marshall c Giles b Harmison 5
12min, 9 balls, 1 four
S B Styris not out 23
36min, 27 balls, 4 fours
C D McMillan not out 15
27min, 12 balls, 3 fours
Extras (lb7, w2, nb5) 14
Total (for 3, 82min, 17.2 overs) 103
Fall: 1-48 (Fleming); 2-57 (Astle); 3-66 (Marshall).
Did not bat: J D P Oram, C L Cairns, C Z Harris, ÝG J Hopkins, D L Vettori, J E C Franklin.
Bowling: Gough 6-0-30-0 (nb4, w1) (4-0-24-0, 2-0-6-0); Harmison 7-0-38-3 (nb1) (one spell); Anderson 4.2-0-28-0 (3-0-18-0, 1.2-0-10-0).
Progress: 50: 43min, 60 balls. 15 overs: 87-3. 100: 82min, 109 balls.
NEW ZEALAND WON BY SEVEN WICKETS
Umpires: R E Koertzen (SA) and J W Lloyds (Eng).
TV replay umpire: M R Benson.
Match referee: G Viswanath (India).
Man of the Match: J E C Franklin.