England's batsmen made to pay for over-confidence

New Zealand 384 England 225-5
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The Independent Online

There is nothing wrong with confidence. It is a state of mind that allows sportsmen to play at their best. But over-confidence? This needs to be avoided.

There is nothing wrong with confidence. It is a state of mind that allows sportsmen to play at their best. But over-confidence? This needs to be avoided.

England's batsmen will be reluctant to admit there was a cavalier approach to their batting on the second day of the third Test but there was. After dismissing New Zealand for 384, England had moved to within 159 runs of the tourists by the close but there was an end-of-term feel to the batting of Michael Vaughan's side.

With the series wrapped up this attitude is understandable but it is an approach that can bring dangerous repercussions. England have turned themselves into a highly-regarded and competitive side through playing tight, disciplined cricket and they do not want to compromise this by moving away from their strengths.

The quick-fire half-centuries of Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Flintoff and Vaughan were littered with glorious boundaries but each batsman failed to make the most of a friendly pitch and indifferent bowling. Vaughan could do little about the grubber from Chris Cairns which trapped him plum in front but Trescothick and Flintoff were guilty of throwing away excellent opportunities.

Despite the early loss of Andrew Strauss and Mark Butcher - who had a pain-killing injection in the little finger of his left hand which he fractured whilst fielding - New Zealand's bowling did little to check England's positive approach. There was the odd good delivery which deserved to be treated with respect, but there were also plenty of four-balls knocking about.

At times during their whirlwind partnership of 110, Vaughan and Trescothick must have felt they had walked out onto a golf driving range, so frequently were the half-volleys being sent down. Each was sent crashing to the boundary but the ease in which they were scoring had a role to play in their demise.

Trescothick quickly followed his captain when he edged a loose drive to gully and it was left to Flintoff and Graham Thorpe to see England past the follow-on. Flintoff's fifty contained 12 boundaries but the Lancashire all-rounder attempted one shot too many and was trapped in front by Cairns.

The loss of Chris Martin, who pulled a hamstring in his second over, and Kyle Mills, who strained his left side, did not help the cause of the Kiwis. Martin will be re-assessed in the morning but Mills will not bowl again in his debut Test.

These injuries would have done nothing to help Stephen Fleming's state of mind. The New Zealand captain had spent the first half of the day watching his side squander his work on Thursday. In the 50 overs which followed Fleming's dismissal, the Black Caps lost nine wickets for 159 runs.

Jacob Oram was the first to throw his wicket away. The tall left-hander had just seen off another searching spell from Stephen Harmison and it was possibly the relief of coming through this thorough examination which caused him to play an extravagant flick at Martin Saggers.

It was the change in pace of Saggers' bowling which caused Oram to spoon a simple catch to Strauss at mid-wicket. Cairns entered the arena with loud applause ringing in his ears. The all-rounder has been involved with Nottinghamshire for 17 years and it is fitting that he should be playing his final Test match at his second home. However, after striking three boundaries Cairns went after a ball that was not there to be hit and top edged a steepling catch to Graham Thorpe at extra cover. It gave Saggers his second wicket of the morning.

Scott Styris' thoughts at the other end must have been similar to those of his captain sat on the visitors' balcony. The Brisbane-born right-hander is an aggressive player but on this occasion he played within his limitations. Styris has a sound technique, a solid defence and a good temperament: it allowed him to score 107 on his Test debut against the West Indies in 2002.

It is his driving that stands out. Planting his left foot down the wicket before the bowler lets go of the ball makes the 28-year-old an lbw candidate, but it also gets him into a good position to play his favourite shot.

It was, however, a clip through square leg which took Styris to his fourth Test century in just his 15th game for New Zealand. Compared to the celebrations of Fleming, Styris' were rather subdued. The stocky all-rounder shyly acknowledged the applause of a full-house crowd before attempting to compose himself by retaking his guard.

It did not work. Vaughan brought Ashley Giles into the attack and the spinner immediately lured Styris into chipping a soft catch to extra cover.

The lunch interval failed to distract England from their task and it took Harmison and Matthew Hoggard just three overs to claim the final three wickets. Brendon McCullum cut a short ball from Harmison to third man and Hoggard chipped the outside of Mills' bat.

The catch just carried to Geraint Jones and it allowed Hoggard to become the 37th England bowler to take 100 Test wickets. His 101st came in the same over when Martin weakly chipped a catch to Vaughan at leg-gully and his dismissal summed up another soft and disappointing period of play for New Zealand.


New Zealand won toss

NEW ZEALAND - First innings

(Overnight: 295-4)

H Richardson c Vaughan b Giles 73

208min, 169 balls11 fours

*S P Fleming c Thorpe b Flintoff 117

280min, 198 balls, 14 fours, 2 sixes

S B Styris c sub (B M Shafayat) b Giles 108

258min, 174 balls, 16 fours

N J Astle b Harmison 15

57min, 44 balls, 1 four

C D McMillan lbw b Harmison 0

1min, 1 ball

J D P Oram c Strauss b Saggers 14

62min, 48 balls, 1 four

C L Cairns c Thorpe b Saggers 12

22min, 17 balls, 3 fours

+B B McCullum c Hoggard b Harmison 21

66min, 52 balls, 1 four

J E C Franklin not out 4

35min, 17 balls

K D Mills c Jones b Hoggard 0

5min, 4 balls

C S Martin c Vaughan b Hoggard 2

3min, 4 balls

Extras (b2 lb14 w0 nb2) 18

Total (503 min, 121overs) 384

Fall: 1-163 (Richardson) 2-225 (Fleming) 3-272 (Astle) 4-272 (McMillan) 5-308 (Oram) 6-331 (Cairns) 7-366 (Styris) 8-377 (McCullum) 9-382 (Mills) 10-384 (Martin).

Bowling: Hoggard 25-6-85-2 (nb1) (8-3-23-0, 3-0-21-0, 5-1-17-0, 7-2-19-0, 2-0-5-2); Harmison 32-9-80-3 (6-2-12-0, 7-2-18-0, 6-2-12-0, 8-1-22-2, 3-1-15-0, 2-1-1-1); Flintoff 14-2-48-1 (4-0-17-0, 3-0-16-0, 5-2-8-1, 2-0-7-0); Saggers 22-5-80-2 (nb1) (6-2-18-0, 4-1-23-0, 4-0-17-0, 1-1-0-1, 7-1-22-1); Giles 27-6-70-2 (5-1-8-0, 7-2-20-0, 3-0-8-1, 5-1-11-0, 2-0-11-0, 2-1-3-0, 3-1-9-1); Vaughan 1-0-5-0.

Progress: Second day: 300: 382 min, 94.1 overs. 350: 444 min, 108 overs. Lunch: 374-7 (McCullum 19, Franklin 2) 118 overs. Innings closed: 1.26pm.

ENGLAND - First innings

M E Trescothick c Styris b Franklin 63

125min, 99 balls, 11 fours

A J Strauss c McCullum b Cairns 0

6min, 3 balls

M A Butcher c Styris b Franklin 5

22min, 14 balls, 1 four

*M P Vaughan lbw b Cairns 61

85min, 65 balls, 10 fours, 1 six

G P Thorpe not out 30

115min, 76 balls, 5 fours

A Flintoff lbw b Cairns 54

92min, 79 balls, 12 fours

M J Hoggard not out 0

13min, 15 balls

Extras (b2 lb1 nb9) 12

Total (for 5, 232 min, 57overs) 225

Fall: 1-1 (Strauss) 2-18 (Butcher) 3-128 (Vaughan) 4-140 (Trescothick) 5-221 (Flintoff).

To bat: ÝG O Jones, A F Giles, M J Saggers, S J Harmison.

Bowling: Martin 1.5-0-1-0 (nb1) (one spell); Cairns 15-5-61-3 (nb1) (5-2-15-1, 6-2-29-1, 4-1-17-1); Franklin 16.1-1-64-2 (nb2) (5.1-0-26-1, 8-1-32-1, 3-0-6-0); Mills 6-2-31-0 (nb2) (5-1-31-0, 1-1-0-0); Oram 9-0-29-0 (nb3) (5-0-17-0, 4-0-12-0); Styris 7-0-31-0 (1-0-8-0, 6-0-23-0); McMillan 2-1-5-0 (one spell).

Progress: Second day: 50: 55 min, 13 overs. Tea 99-2 (Trescothick 45, Vaughan 44) 23 overs. 100: 99 min, 23.3 overs. 150: 138 min, 33.1 overs. 200: 203 min, 49.3 overs. Rain stopped play 5.28-5.35pm 211-4 (Thorpe 23, Flintoff 48) 51.3 overs.

Trescothick's 50: 113 min, 90 balls, 8 fours. Vaughan's 50: 71 min, 49 balls, 8 fours, 1 six. Flintoff's 50: 85 min, 74 balls, 12 fours.

Umpires: D J Harper (Aus) and S J A Taufel (Aus).