Silverwood shines but England's batting stumbles

New Zealand A 181 England 107
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The Independent Online
The heartening news is that England needed just 45 minutes to get rid of their opponents' No 11. Ironically, after the protracted goings-on in Auckland, it was the second new ball that provided the breakthrough as Chris Silverwood removed the final batsman, as well as any lingering doubts over his England credentials, with a career-best 6 for 44.

It was an impressive performance by the young Yorkshire seamer, though it was tarnished when England lost three quick wickets before the close on the first day, including that of Mike Atherton for five.

England bowled well, but not as threateningly as Geoff Allott and Heath Davis, the home side's new-ball pairing, who looked far more imposing than New Zealand's bowlers in last week's first Test.

New Zealand's attack made a superb start to the second day with Davis taking three wickets in the space of 12 balls in the opening session, including the wickets of Nasser Hussain and Jack Russell, as England collapsed to 57 for 7.

Batting was never easy on the slow, grassy Victoria Park pitch, which gave movement to those prepared to combine energy and accuracy - two attributes managed by Silverwood and Andy Caddick, but not Ronnie Irani or Craig White. The latter looked emotionally sapped, while Irani, who has sifted through an avalanche of advice over his bowling, merely looked confused.

After Alan Mullally's lacklustre performance in the first Test, there is probably a vacant bowling slot going for the second Test in Wellington. It is a position that both Caddick or Silverwood could vie for. Both quickly found a rhythm, particularly Silverwood, who was given an early lift when Craig Spearman obligingly drove the fifth ball of the day to Hussain at cover point.

With the new ball providing lavish seam movement, it was not long before Phil Chandler followed, palpably lbw to one that Silverwood jagged back at him off the pitch. At 12 for 2, it left the home side - who had won the toss and batted - more than a little stunned, and it needed a third- wicket stand of 97 between the captain, Darrin Murray, and Matthew Horne to give the innings impetus.

Unlike Caddick, who bowls a yard too short on these slow pitches, Silverwood has the knack of taking wickets in a variety of ways. It is an enviable trait and one he shares with the likes of Dominic Cork and Ian Botham, England's part-time bowling coach and a man who Silverwood has recently been working closely with in the nets.

"I'm trying to make it hard for them not to pick me," Silverwood said. "There's no room for nice guys and when someone's got a bat in their hand, I get stuck into him."

The approach of the last man, Allott, with his minimal backlift, was not unlike that of Danny Morrison's during the Test. Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery, and it would be a neat irony if Morrison, a fast bowler, had suddenly begun to inspire a whole legion of dogged No 11s.

Luckily for New Zealand, Allott clearly fancies himself as a bowler too, and he bowled some snorting deliveries to remove John Crawley and Nick Knight, who had been dropped off the left-arm Allott's third ball by the wicketkeeper Jason Mills.

In the 16 overs England had to bat before stumps, neither Mills nor the England batsman had the smoothest of rides, and having caught Atherton off the glove he then proceeded to drop Hussain, again off Allott, when the batsman was on one. Add to that the six or so times the ball went perilously close to short-leg and England were lucky to end the day as they did.

A lot has been asked of England to be playing here so soon after a five- day Test. With only a travelling day between the matches, there has been little time to relax and reflect upon the events at Eden Park - something David Lloyd, the England coach, felt was a weakness in the itinerary.

Second day of four, New Zealand A won toss

NEW ZEALAND A - First Innings

C M Spearman c Hussain b Silverwood 0

*D J Murray c Russell b Tufnell 49

B Chandler lbw b Silverwood 3

M J Horne b Silverwood 64

C Z Harris c Knight b Silverwood 16

L G Howell c Russell b Silverwood 3

J Mills not out 28

P J Wiseman b Caddick 8

H T Davis c Atherton b Caddick 0

R J Kennedy c Knight b Croft 3

G I Allott c Hussain b Silverwood 5

Extras (lb2) 2

Total (81.1 overs) 181

Fall: 1-0, 2-12, 3-109, 4-121, 5-134, 6-139, 7-159, 8-161, 9-164.

Bowling: Silverwood 20.1-5-44-6; Caddick 15-2-42-2; White 2-0-14-0; Croft 15-4-30-1; Tufnell 23-13-28-1; Irani 6-0-21-0.

ENGLAND - First Innings

(Overnight: 30 for 3)

N V Knight c Chandler b Allott 11

*M A Atherton c Mills b Davis 5

N Hussain c Harris b Davis 14

J P Crawley c Murray b Allott 5

C White c Chandler b Allot 7

R C Irani c Chandler b Allott 40

R D B Croft c Horne b Davis 2

R C Russell c Harris b Davis 0

A R Caddick c and b Wiseman 6

C E W Silverwood c Chandler b Wiseman 11

P C R Tuffnell not out 0

Extras (lb5 nb 1) 6

Total (44.3 overs) 107

Fall: 1-16, 2-17, 3-23, 4-39, 5-51, 6-57, 7-57, 8-79, 9-107.

Bowling: Allott 15.3-6-44-4; Davis 14-8-22-4; Kennedy 7-2-23-0; Wiseman 8-2-13-2.

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