Hoggard's seven wickets puts England in control

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The Independent Online

Matthew Hoggard took a career-best seven wickets for 63 to put England in charge on the second day of the first test against New Zealand at Christchurch.

After Hoggard's efforts had skittled out the home side for a paltry 147, England were 50 for two in their second innings when bad light forced an early stumps. England, who scored 228 in their first innings, have a lead of 131 with three days remaining.

Mark Butcher, 22 not out, and Nasser Hussain, unbeaten on six, will resume tonight with as England looking to consolidate and take a stranglehold on the three-test series opener.

"It's nice to rock up to somewhere where the ball swings," Hoggard said. "This winter has been a big test for me and a big chance for me to prove myself.

"When you come to a place like this where the wickets are helpful, you've got the pressure to get the wickets."

The only bowler to consistently trouble the New Zealanders, Hoggard took the first five wickets to fall in 20 unchanged overs before the hosts lost the last five wickets for 30 runs.

He could have had more in his first spell but two catches went to ground in the slips.

Night watchman Daniel Vettori was the unlikely top scorer for New Zealand with 42 runs while Craig McMillan, who hit out in the company of the tailenders at 117 for eight, scored 40.

Opener Matt Horne (14) and Lou Vincent's (12) dismissals epitomized Hoggard's telling first spell that spanned the first two sessions.

Vincent, who was dropped on nought and two, was beaten all ends up and bowled by a delivery that seamed away late while Horne, who fell before the lunch break, was also a victim of a ball leaving the right hander.

Playing in only his sixth test after missing the entire Ashes series at home with a stress fracture on his left foot, Hoggard carried on from where he left off in India as England's leading wicket-taker.

He took 3-19 in 25 balls before and after lunch following a 75-minute delay to the start of the day's play due to a wet outfield.

At that stage, New Zealand were reeling at 93 for five.

The 25-year-old Yorkshireman also bettered his first-class figures of 6-51 for his county team against Essex in Scarborough in last year's English county championship.

Andy Caddick took three wickets in one over and almost took a hat-trick, removing Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming (12) with the first ball of his 15th over, Chris Cairns (0) with the fourth, Adam Parore (0) with the fifth before No.10 Chris Drum blocked the last ball.

With New Zealand perilously paced on 117 for eight, McMillan, the last recognized batsman, attacked the English bowlers. He took 15 runs in Caddick's next over ? two boundaries and a hooked six over midwicket ? to lift the spirits of the home spectators, who were vastly outnumbered by English tour groups and the Barmy Army.

Hoggard, returning for his second spell in place of Caddick, had McMillan caught at long off and then in the next over had No. 11 and debutante Ian Butler caught by first slip Nasser Hussain.

"The batting was disappointing," New Zealand coach Denis Aberhart saidd. "We played a lot of loose shots. We didn't work hard to play on a wicket like this where the ball was doing a lot. The shot selection was poor."

England lost openers Michael Vaughan (0) and Marcus Trescothick (33) to debutant Butler, who took 2 for 38.

A total of two hours play was lost and the time will be made up over the remaining three days.