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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

England rise, New Zealand choke

England 202 and 4/294 (A Strauss 106) defeated New Zealand 381 and 114 by 6 wickets. Second Test Day 4 at Old Trafford, Manchester.

New Zealand surrendered abjectly and unconditionally to a competent England team in the last two days of the match. On what turned out to be the final day the Black Caps turned in a lacklustre performance with the ball and in the field. My question about whether they had the self-belief to push for, let alone force, victory turned out to be a rhetorical one as nobody was able to chip away at the England batting for long enough to make a difference.

For me and perhaps many others the moment of recognition was when Iain O'Brien, an honest into the wind trundler dropped a simple return catch. The game had looked lost at that point: after his sub-club cricket display of ineptitude not only it but also the Third Test looked England's.

The competitive New Zealanders, eg RossTaylor, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram (who was less competitive in this match) and Daniel Vettori (much of whose bowling in the second innings lacked zest and zip), much be hoping that the whole side can lift enough to register a Kiwi cricket victory , aka a draw, in the Third Test.


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