Late wickets give NZ advantage against England

England slipped to 87-2 in reply to New Zealand’s 470 all out at the close of play on the second day of the first Test on Thursday.

Michael Vaughan was 44 not out with Andrew Strauss on one after Chris Martin took two late wickets. England were 383 runs behind on the first innings.

New Zealand were bowled out during the middle session after Ross Taylor scored his maiden Test century, while Daniel Vettori made 88. Jamie How had scored 92 and Brendon McCullum made a swashbuckling 51 on the first day in the other major contributions to New Zealand’s innings.

England’s Alastair Cook and Vaughan slowly accumulated runs and made it through to 84 without loss. However, Cook lost concentration with less than five overs remaining and skied a catch off Martin to substitute fielder Nick Horsley for 38.

Horsley was on the field for the injured Matthew Bell, who was struck on the hand by a Vaughan shot while fielding in close.

Nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard was dismissed for two when he edged to Stephen Fleming in the slips in Martin’s next over.

Vaughan was lucky to still be at the crease after a confident leg-before appeal from Vettori. Television replays showed he was struck on the pad before the ball ricocheted to his bat.

New Zealand’s dual spin attack could pose problems for England on the fourth and fifth days, with off-spinner Jeetan Patel already extracting considerable turn and sharp bounce.

Record partnership

Earlier, Taylor’s century was forged in a 148-run seventh-wicket record partnership against England with Vettori. The pair came together with their side on 277-6 late on the first day and dominated the second day’s first session, Taylor reaching his century with a hook off Harmison to lead New Zealand to lunch at 387-6.

Taylor had moved to 120 after lunch when he played a rare false shot, slog-sweeping part-time off-spinner Kevin Pietersen’s second ball and top-edging a catch back to the bowler, who claimed his third Test wicket.

Vettori then appeared to be in sight of his third Test century when he played a lazy shot to a wide Paul Collingwood delivery and was well caught by Strauss in the slips.

Ryan Sidebottom, who will be on a hat-trick when New Zealand bat again after capturing Patel (five) and Martin (0) on successive balls to end their first innings, was the most successful England bowler with figures of 4-90. — Reuters

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