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Monday, May 26, 2008

Do New Zealand have enough self-belief to win?

New Zealand 381 and 114 (M Panesar 6/37) v England 202 (A Strauss 60, D Vettori 5/66) and 1/76. England require 218 more runs with 9 wickets in hand: Second Test Day 3 at Old Trafford, Manchester.

On the face of it New Zealand are on top of England and should be able to win, yet over the course of the day's play the home team came back into the match after a poor first innings batting display.

The wind blew hard, impairing, according to the TV commentators, Hawkeye's accuracy (interesting!) and the temperature didn't rise above the mid teens. A typical May day in Manchester perhaps?

The high points of the day were the performances of the two left-arm spinners Daniel Vettori 31-5-66-5 for NZ and Monty Panesar 17-5-37-6 for England. Yes, the pitch helped them but they had to winkle out the opposition. Without detracting from Panesar's performance his task was made a little easier by the ineptness of the NZ batting (not that some of the England batting was much better) but his match figures of 7/138 reflect his contribution to the team.

The lowest point of the day was NZ's collapse for 114 all out (batting one short). This put some wind in the English sails and batting in the final session of the day looked easier than at any other time of the day, despite the demons in the pitch.

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