Having spent the first day wicketless and forlornly searching for the right line Ryan Sidebottom found precisely what he was looking for on the second day.
He took four wickets (New Zealand’s last four) for five runs in 10.5 overs in a mini-masterclass of over and round the wicket left arm swing bowling in favourable conditions.
This was why Sidebottom had been voted England’s player of the year earlier in the week. If he was not unplayable, he made it distinctly unwise to risk anything approaching adventure.
His final three wickets were all clean bowled, all with late movement which either overwhelmed (Kyle Mills and Tim Southee) or befuddled (Daniel Vettori) the recipients. The grey day, regularly interrupted by bad light, seemed to grow greyer by the minute. If this was an optical illusion prompted by some desultory cricket, it was still a reason (the only reason) to be thankful for the home side’s gleaming new white kit.
It was more marked when England replied, their batsmen glowing in the middle. The ball still offered movement for the bowlers but Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, both sometimes flirting with the slip cordon, survived without undue alarm.Reuse content