If Monty Panesar has any sense he will travel to Lord's at the conclusion of this absorbing and fluctuating Test to make an impassioned plea to the England and Wales Cricket Board to assign more Tests to Old Trafford. He could well be followed by his captain, Michael Vaughan, should England today complete a fifth win in six visits here in what for most of the Test has been regarded an unlikely victory.
Panesar's love affair with the venue, a ground where England are not scheduled to play a Test until 2012, continued yesterday when he took career best figures of 6 for 37. New Zealand's inexperienced batting line-up could not cope with probing and intensity of England's premier spinner who bundled them out for 114 in their second innings, a total that set Vaughan's under-performing batting line-up the challenging target of 294 for victory. England lost Alastair Cook before the close but finished on 76 for 1, requiring a further 218 to take a 1-0 lead in the three Test series.
Panesar's haul took his wicket tally here to 25 in three Tests but, worryingly for England, it is the bowling of Daniel Vettori, New Zealand's left-arm spinner, which could decide the outcome of the match. Vettori took the wicket of Cook, caught at short leg, to add to the 5 for 66 he bagged as England were bowled out for 202 in their first innings. England should not bat as poorly as they did in their first innings and Vettori will be expecting to add to his count on a pitch that is offering bowlers ever more assistance.
New Zealand were coasting along at 50 for 1 and with a lead of 229 when Panesar was awarded the first of four lbw decisions, all of which were out. Jamie How pushed forward with bat tucked in behind his pad and was rightly sent packing by umpire Simon Taufel. James Marshall followed when he walked across in front of a straight ball and, three balls later, he was followed back to the dressing room by Brendon McCullum.
McCullum is a wonderful cricketer but he does not appear to have a clue against Panesar, a fact that was highlighted by his wild and unsuccessful sweep to leg. Vettori made contact with his attempted sweep but the top edge landed in Stuart Broad's safe hands at deep square leg. Ross Taylor, New Zealand's 154 run hero of the first innings, perished when he missed another cracking delivery to give Panesar his eighth five wicket haul and 100th Test scalp. Predictably, the moment was celebrated in spectacular fashion.
It is hard to know what was more unappealing for the thousands of hardy supporters during the morning session – the cold, howling north easterly wind blowing in from the Penines or England's wretched batting display. England's batsmen and selectors continue to say that there are no concerns about the teams batting but after losing 9-91 in 40 overs the view has a distinctly ostrich like appearance.
Two late wickets by Vettori on Saturday evening meant that England began the third day on 152-4, still 229 runs behind New Zealand's first innings total of 381. And it was Vettori who provided the Black Caps with the breakthrough they needed in the eighth over of the day, when Kevin Pietersen edged a good ball to Taylor at first slip. Pietersen never looked happy and he appears to be in something of a quandary.
Rarely a week goes by without him bemoaning his absence from the lucrative Indian Premier League, a state of mind that questions whether his focus is fully on scoring runs for his adopted country. It could be the shortcomings of England's batsmen that is affecting him though. In recent times Pietersen has shown great responsibility and restraint when batting. It is an admirable approach. The problem is that he is at his best when he looks to dominate. It is not a coincidence that Pietersen's Test batting average and strike rate – runs per 100 balls faced – were at their highest at the same time.
Ian Bell again failed to provide his side with a decisive performance, edging a weak waft at a short of a length delivery from Iain O'Brien to Taylor at slip. Bell has scored seven Test hundreds but not one has been the first for his side in a Test, a statistic that shows he struggles to impose himself on a game or the opposition. If the selectors are to make changes to their batting line-up, and they ought to be seriously considering it following this display, Bell must be at the top their hit list.
O'Brien has spent the entire Test bowling in to a strong wind and he fully deserved his third wicket of the innings. As a Wellingtonian O'Brien is accustomed to playing in blusterly conditions – the New Zealand capital is regarded as the second windiest city in the world – and he bowled superbly, keeping his gameplan simple by just aiming to hit a good line and length hard.
If Bell is facing the axe, so must Paul Collingwood who was trapped plumb in front by Vettori in the very next over. Collingwood has now scored just 37 runs at an average of 5.3 in all cricket this summer. Unlike Bell, he is a street fighter, the type of player who produces his best in difficult circumstances, but on this occasion his tentative forward lunge was defeated by a Vettori arm-ball.
Tim Ambrose was totally outfoxed by Vettori too, edging an ugly drive to Taylor at slip to leave England in danger of being asked to follow-on. Monty Panesar went before the landmark was passed when Brendon McCullum a stunning one-handed catch diving to his left. Stuart Broad guided England past the follow-on, when he nudged Vettori through mid-wicket for two. Broad is an impressive young man and he showed greater nous than colleagues who are selected to score runs. They have the chance to redeem themselves today.
Shot of the Day
Since the departure of Ashley Giles England have struggled to find a bowler capable of batting at No 8. Stuart Broad appears to be the man. In tense situations he remains calm and can play wonderful shots too, as a calypso back-foot drive off Kyle Mills highlighted. It was Laraesque.
Ball of the Day
Monty Panesar's quicker bowling allowed him to trap batsmen lbw, whereas Daniel Vettori had his victims caught at slip. The best of Vettori's wickets was that of Tim Ambrose, deceived by the bowler's guile and spin and edging an unbalanced and airy-fairy prod to slip.
Moment of the Day
Monty Panesar is always excitable but there was no stopping him when he trapped Ross Taylor in front for 15. It gave him his eighth five-wicket Test haul and 100th Test scalp. At 26 he has time, and could pass Ian Botham (383) as England's highest wicket-taker.
Scoreboard from Old Trafford
New Zealand won toss
New Zealand 1st innings
L R P L Taylor not out 154
291 mins, 176 balls, 17 fours, 5 sixes
J D P Oram run out 38
107 mins, 76 balls, 5 fours
*D L Vettori run out 1
3 mins, 2 balls
K D Mills b Anderson 57
85 mins, 78 balls, 7 fours, 1 five, 1 six
I E O'Brien c Bell b Anderson 5
17 mins, 6 balls, 1 five
C S Martin b Anderson 0
11 mins, 3 balls
Extras (b 4, lb 11, w 3, nb 1, pens 0) 19
Total (400 mins, 90.3 overs) 381
Fall: 1-80 (Redmond), 2-86 (Marshall), 3-102 (How), 4-123 (McCullum), 5-249 (Oram), 6-250 (Vettori), 7-339 (Mills), 8-368 (O'Brien), 9-381 (Martin).
Bowling: Sidebottom 27-6-86-2, Anderson 20.3-0-118-4, Panesar 22-1-101-1 , Broad 20-3-60-0, Collingwood 1-0-1-0.
England 1st innings
A J Strauss c McCullum b O'Brien 60
175 mins, 140 balls, 6 fours
A N Cook lbw b O'Brien 19
40 mins, 26 balls, 3 fours
*M P Vaughan lbw b Vettori 30
173 mins, 133 balls, 3 fours
K P Pietersen c Taylor b Vettori 26
83 mins, 80 balls, 2 fours
R J Sidebottom c How b Vettori 4
8 mins, 7 balls, 1 four
I R Bell c Taylor b O'Brien 8
46 mins, 29 balls
P D Collingwood lbw b Vettori 2
15 mins, 10 balls
+T R Ambrose c Taylor b Vettori 3
29 mins, 18 balls
S C J Broad c sub (J S Patel) b Mills 30
53 mins, 50 balls, 4 fours
M S Panesar c McCullum b Mills 1
4 mins, 3 balls
J M Anderson not out 3
23 mins, 12 balls
Extras (b 2, lb 7, w 0, nb 7, pens 0) 16
Total (329 mins, 83.3 overs) 202
Fall: 1-33 (Cook), 2-111 (Strauss), 3-141 (Vaughan), 4-145 (Sidebottom), 5-160 (Pietersen), 6-164 (Bell), 7-164 (Collingwood), 8-179 (Ambrose), 9-180 (Panesar), 10-202 (Broad).
Bowling: Martin 10-3-31-0, Mills 9.3-1-38-2, O'Brien 23-9-49-3, Vettori 31-5-66-5, Oram 8-3-5-0, Redmond 2-1-4-0.
New Zealand 2nd innings
J M How lbw b Panesar 29
55 mins, 39 balls, 5 fours
A J Redmond c Collingwood
b Anderson 6
43 mins, 25 balls, 1 four
J A H Marshall lbw b Panesar 28
55 mins, 48 balls, 4 fours
L R P L Taylor lbw b Panesar 15
72 mins, 48 balls, 1 four
+B B McCullum lbw b Panesar 0
2 mins, 3 balls
*D L Vettori c Broad b Panesar 4
1 6 mins, 14 balls
K D Mills c Ambrose b Panesar 8
44 mins, 30 balls, 1 four
J D P Oram c Ambrose b Sidebottom 7
16 mins, 17 balls
I E O'Brien c Anderson b Sidebottom 6
22 mins, 22 balls
C S Martin not out 0
3 mins, 2 balls
D R Flynn absent hurt
Extras (b 0, lb 11, w 0, nb 0, pens 0) 11
Total (168 mins, 41.2 overs) 114
Fall: 1-28 (Redmond), 2-50 (How), 3-85 (Marshall), 4-85 (McCullum), 5-91 (Vettori), 6-91 (Taylor), 7-106 (Oram), 8-114 (Mills), 9-114 (O'Brien).
Bowling: Sidebottom 12.2-5-26-2, Anderson 8-1-21-1, Panesar 17-5-37-6, Broad 4-0-19-0 .
England 2nd innings
A J Strauss not out 27
104 mins, 71 balls, 2 fours
A N Cook c Marshall b Vettori 28
82 mins, 69 balls, 2 fours
*M P Vaughan not out 12
21 mins, 25 balls, 2 fours
Extras (b 4, lb 2, w 0, nb 3, pens 0) 9
Total (1 wkt, 104 mins, 27 overs) 76
Fall: 1-60 (Cook).
To bat: K P Pietersen, I R Bell, P D Collingwood, +T R Ambrose, S C J Broad, R J Sidebottom, M S Panesar, J M Anderson.
Bowling: Martin 4-1-8-0 , Mills 6-0-17-0, Vettori 10-2-32-1, O'Brien 6-1-9-0, How 1-0-4-0 .
Umpires: D B Hair and S J A Taufel
TV replay umpire: I J Gould
Match referee: R S MadugalleReuse content