Second Test: Graeme Swann thanks elbow surgeon Shawn O'Driscoll for saving his career as England beat New Zealand


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The Independent Online

Graeme Swann thanked elbow surgeon Shawn O'Driscoll for “saving” his career after a Test best match haul.

The off-spinner's second-innings figures of six for 90 at Headingley saw him finish with a match haul of 10 for 132, which led England to a 247-run win over New Zealand and a 2-0 series win.

The 34-year-old missed the away series against the same opposition as he recovered from an operation on the troublesome joint but now feels reinvigorated after the surgery in the United States.

He told Sky Sports 1: "The elbow feels great, I'm very thankful to the surgeon Shawn O'Driscoll - he probably saved my career, good man."

The impressive figures came at a ground where Swann has traditionally struggled and was even left out during last year's series against South Africa.

But he benefited from the number of left-handers in the New Zealand team, both in the batting line-up and with the rough created by seamers Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.

He said: "I'm not a bitter man, I don't think (about last year) - I just mentioned to Cookie that it's a good job he wasn't captain then!

"The world should have left-armers in their team, left-hand batsmen or bowlers, it's better for me."

While Swann was the hero in this match it was Joe Root who claimed the man of the series award after scoring 104 in the first innings here and an impressive 71 at Lord's.

And captain Alastair Cook was full of praise for both his star men.

"Obviously it's great for Rooty to get a hundred," he said.

"It was a fantastic hundred in pretty tough batting conditions that first day, it swung all day.

"Credit to the New Zealand bowlers, they put us under a lot of pressure on that first day and the way he responded with a hundred was fantastic.

"Swanny has done it for a few years for us now and to get 10 wickets here was a great effort."

Next up in the Test arena for England is the Ashes and Cook is hopeful that his team can now take some momentum into that series.

"It's good momentum to have," he said. "Winning these two games and winning them quite well gives us good confidence leading to there.

"Obviously when we get there it'll not mean too much but when we meet up again for the Ashes, we'll be full of confidence."

It was a nervy morning today with rain threatening to force a draw after a declaration that many felt was overly conservative yesterday.

The platform for that was laid by a slow spell of batting by Cook and Jonathan Trott on Sunday night but the skipper was quick to defend his tactics and his team.

"If you're picking up one-per-centers, me and Trotty could probably have batted a bit quicker there," he said.

"But at the end of the day we set up the platform there together to get a 467 lead in pretty good time.

"Obviously the next day we gave our bowlers time to refresh and the pitch time to get a bit more wear."

He added: "I thought we put in a really good performance here. To win by a big margin like that was a huge credit to the lads and I think everyone, one to 11, really put their hand up in this game."

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum admitted: "The gulf between the two teams was exposed in this Test.

"We certainly had the bowling attack where we knew we could take English wickets and it was a matter of us being able to produce the runs that were required.

"I think it was a combination between high-class bowling from the England bowlers and also our boys just struggled a touch with the bat to get that high score that was required.

"We've seen some strides forward in the last little while and whilst this a step backwards, if we can stick together we've got the making of an excellent cricket team."

Paceman Tim Southee, the Black Caps' player of the series with 12 wickets at an average of 19.58, agreed that the bowling attack in particular was shaping up nicely.

"We get on well and we're all still pretty young, so hopefully it's something we can work with for the future," he said.

"It's been good, bowling with the Duke ball is a lot nicer than the Kookaburra, it's good to see it swinging.

"The batters are trying and their day will come as well, hopefully we can get it together and keep improving as a Test side."