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Youngsters reinvigorate England

Jonathan Agnew | 07:41 UK time, Friday, 14 March 2008

James Anderson fully vindicated his recall to the England team in Wellington and you have to think that only bad weather can prevent England from levelling the series now.

They only need to add 250 more to their overnight score to make sure New Zealand are completely out of the game, and that would leave plenty of time for them to chip away and bowl the Kiwis out a second time.

The pitch is still giving seam bowlers a little help, but it seemed to be the bounce that the batsmen struggled to cope with on day two.

Anderson revelled in conditions which encouraged him to swing the ball dangerously, and with Stuart Broad taking the crucial wicket of Brendon McCullum just when New Zealand were launching a counter attack, thanks to a lovely catch at first slip by Andrew Strauss, and Tim Ambrose having played a potentially match-winning innings, this team looks revitalised – not hard I admit – with youngsters adding ambition to their youthful enthusiasm.

James Anderson dismisses Ross Taylor

Ambrose looked a different batsmen first thing, barely able to put bat on ball, and reached his 100 with an edge through the slips, but he kept wicket tidily again. Dare we hope that England have finally found their man in the vital wicket-keeper/batsman role?

The standard of ground fielding, meanwhile, was generally much improved, although Monty Panesar was guilty of a couple of genuine howlers as two fours passed straight through his legs.

For New Zealand, Ross Taylor played the innings of the day, and he looks a very well organised batsman, confirming the good impression he made in scoring his maiden Test hundred in Hamilton.

Stephen Fleming passed 7,000 runs in Test cricket before playing a desperately limp shot to Anderson which saw him caught at point, while Matthew Sinclair and Jacob Oram both committed the cardinal sin of suggesting the umpire had made a mistake in giving them out.

Sinclair walked off shaking his head, although the TV 'snicko' immediately confirmed that he had edged a catch behind, and, worse still, Oram thumped the inside edge of his bat with his hand to suggest that he had edged the ball into his pads when he was given lbw.

The umpires have a tough enough job without players resorting to these tactics.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 08:46 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • David wrote:

England have finally found a decent wicketkeeper-batsman they've searched for for years

  • 2.
  • At 08:50 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Prafull wrote:

Good to see england doing well...
Was shocked to hear abt the first test match,...

They were d clear favs..

Hope they will do well..

Come on England

Prafull from India

PS-Monty Panesar is one overrated bowler & Swann is a better replacement.You cant write autobiagraphies after playeing for 1 year in international cricket.

  • 3.
  • At 09:08 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Greg T. wrote:

Really enjoyed watching England have a good day for once!!! Every one deserves a pat on the back for chipping in, though Monty probably needs more of a consolling hug after not getting a bowl and providing the comedy with more fielding "howlers". His face was so remorseful after I nearly wanted to weep myself!!! Could this be a win for England and on the wider scale of things could this be the turning point towards a team we can believe in again? .....hope so!!

  • 4.
  • At 09:10 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

right then lets cast our minds back to the selection of the touring party; would all those who said Hamry shouldn't be in the squad take a bow, and all those who said Anderson wasn't good enough go and eat their hats. Interesting point raised on the TMS commentary early this morning, Anderson needs the new ball to be effective and his bads games may correlate to being first change, anyone got the stats to prove or disprove that one?

  • 5.
  • At 09:17 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Daniel Fernandes wrote:

England should now show its ruthless and merciless side and score at least 400 runs so as to force the Kiwis to chase a huge target and to give England a huge victory. In my opinion there is enough time to do all this Well done to Anderson on a brilliant performance. And I don't understand why some Kiwis are moaning about Anderson. Are you trying to use his spell at Auckland as an excuse or scapegoat for the individual and collective failures of the New Zealand team? Or are you simply jealous of Anderson's success? And they seem to have conveniently forgotten that Fleming has benefited immensely from playing county cricket with Notts. And he has been at Notts for several years unlike Anderson who has played for Auckland for only a few weeks.

  • 6.
  • At 09:25 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Michael Dearden wrote:

I find it sad that the BBC (and ITV) have no time for cricket now. Once was when every game was covered live on the BBC. Now they can't even be bothered to give it ten seconds in their sports round up during Breakfast. No wonder the sport is dying in this country and our lads are struggling. They must feel very let down.
If it had been a football match the whole country would have been buzzing and the BBC would have been jabbering on about it at every opportunity.
Very sad!

  • 7.
  • At 09:36 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • shriram wrote:

The bowling from the English bowlers was brilliant today and kept monty out of the attack right through the innings.
vettori mccullum taylor and fleming were the only batsmen to make any significant contributions but the number of wickets that were thrown away by bad batting were few unlike the last match.
Anderson proved he deserved his place in the team but broad was unimpressive and took the wicket of a reckless mccullum and was expensive. He is better than harmison's been for 2 years but is still not good enough to seal his test match spot.

At last, England have bowled sendibly and made the most of the conditions.

NZ are far from out of it. 5 for 70 tomorrow morning and they are im the mix. Now it is time for the top 5 to step up and produce a winning total.

  • 9.
  • At 09:46 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

England bowled like they wanted the game today!!! Hats off to James Anderson!! Wish that Simon Jones was fit as I think that he is one of the best bowlers we have had recently!!! Was the difference in 2005 with bat and ball!!

  • 10.
  • At 09:48 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Keith Riches wrote:

A great turn around for England.

What a difference a couple of bowlers make! Anderson has clearly benefited from his overs last week, I hope Messrs Hoggard and Harmison were watching closely. I think Broad deserves some recognition, he was unlucky with the bat and his bowling perhaps deserved a couple more wickets; he a little like Flintoff, is developing a good habit of taking the big wickets?

  • 11.
  • At 09:49 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Rob Whittle wrote:

Jamie Anderson picked up his wickets by letting his natural rhythm and outswing, line and length outside off stump, the ball swinging at mid 80s mph speed (McGrath style) to bag a 5 for of top order NZ batmans.

Tightening up on more consistent line and length and cutting out the bad 4 balls is the major difference.

  • 12.
  • At 10:01 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

I don't understand this obsession with just accepting the decision of the umpire. Batters are absolutely entitled to tell the umpire when they have got it wrong, and I'm all for them making a very public show of their displeasure. Top test umpires are very well paid, and they should be 100% accountable for their decisions. They make enough bad decisions, which impact on the overall match, and it's right that batters put them back in their place. Personally, I'd like to see batters given wrongly out give the umpire a right mouthful on the way off - much better TV than just sulking away.

I'm all for a robust system of appeals where any batter given out has full right to challenge (or any bowler who knows he got a nick that was not given), and to to have the reply judged by someone who does not have a vested interest in protecting the lot of umpires. It's easy to make a correct judgement from TV evidence (any regular cricket watcher could do it), so you would not need test match umpires judging their peers. The sooner batters and bowlers get protection for incapable umpires like Rudi Koertzen and Steve Bucknor (who appears to now be both blind and deaf), the better for the game. And let's forget this idiotic English public school obsession with respecting the umpire's decision, regardless of how stupid it is.

  • 13.
  • At 10:05 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • James R wrote:


Couldn't be more delighted for the boys after the recent months they have endured. Anderson looked genuinely dangerous - I hope he can keep it up and I thought the atmosphere in the field from England seemed more positive. More of an edge. Well done England. Now all we need is for a couple of the top six to start firing to give the whole sqaud a massive boost of ocnfidence.

Fingers crossed for more of the same positivity on Day 3 from both players and critics alike.

  • 14.
  • At 10:13 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Barry Clements wrote:

Whatever day England has, Aggers post day analysis always delivers. I always read this rather than the report as its delivered from the hip.
A great day for England no doubt, but can they score the runs needed on Day 3 to put this game beyond the Kiwis?

  • 15.
  • At 10:14 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Jack Byrne wrote:

Oram and Sinclair were obviously out, seems typical of them to moan. Should get a fine for that?

When Monty let it through his legs for the second time it was just a deliberate ploy for Collingwood to get Vettori off strike!

Good bowling from Jimmy Anderson. I bet his five wickets haven't gone down well with the New Zealand press, that match practice with Auckland has turned out to be crucial for England!

  • 16.
  • At 10:25 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

Good work by the bowlers but still will fail to justify the inclusion of Strauss unless he gets the decent innings he's been so badly lacking. At least this performance hopefully will mean Harmison won't be coming straight back into the side and as people have commented before, Hoggard's got time on his side although not convinced really he should have been dropped on a one off performance.

  • 17.
  • At 10:25 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • TonyDuc wrote:

It is nice to see a bowling attack that with help from the pitch looks like taking wickets.
It is now up to our batsmen to finish off New Zealand and give the bowlers something to bowl at.
I am pleased for Anderson and Ambrose but it is a measure of how good Collingwood is that his contribution to the batting and bowling has hardly got a mention, it seems that he is expected to hold things together in all aspects of the game.

  • 18.
  • At 10:52 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Joe wrote:

Aye, well played England. A remarkably well-disciplined attack, a rarity to be cherished. One can only hope that the changes enforced are the beginning of something and not a sad end.

Would it be possible to have a Ramprakash-free thread?

Best of luck to Strauss, I hope he rediscovers his form tonight. England need positions 3,4,5 cemented as quickly as possible.

  • 19.
  • At 10:54 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ted Rodgers wrote:

Have you noticed how there has only been one or two posts in response to a positive days play from England.
This time yesterday or from any day in Hamilton there were 50 + posts from various so-call England supporters voicing there opinions about how badly we have played.
We finally have a postive days play with a 100 being made and wickets taken and where is the support and encouragement??
Well done England, superb day's play, lets keep it up and taken NZ to Napier.

  • 20.
  • At 10:55 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ben Adams wrote:

A good day for england and for Anderson in particular.

England have really mismanged Anderson. He has been 12th man for england so many times and hasnt bowled enough overs in matches. Ever since he first broke through into the England team on the Aussie tour 2001 it's been clear he has the X factor to intimdate batsmen and take wickets.

I hope Anderson will finnaly force his way into the test team as an automatic pick. He has been threating to for a long time.

Also how must tremlett be feeiling. He bowled well in the summer. Though he tended to bowl a bit short at times and not truly threaten the batsmen. If he was fit he'd been picked ahead of broad.

Finally what's happing to monty. He seems less threating than he used to be to batsmen. The old feilding mishap are creeping back and he hasn't really devolped as everyone hopes. Potentially pansar has the potential to bebetter than vetorri. If only he could gain a better understanding of the New Zealand Captain thought process in a match. He could be best English spinner since Underwood.

  • 21.
  • At 10:56 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Joe M wrote:

Well said, Aggers. I

f England dont win from here, they are truly without hope. Anderson is a talented bowler, lets hope he can be consistent enough to cement his place in the side.

Lets not get to excited about Ambrose though - remember how Prior came onto the scene?

Prafull: Although writing an autobiography after one year of test cricket is a crime, it hardly says anything about Monty's bowling ability!

  • 22.
  • At 10:56 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • John Forrest wrote:

About time too the abilities there all right but still very worried about KP why cant he stop all that bumwaving and slamming the crease while waiting for the delivery.Looks more and more uncomfortable save for a few decent shots hardly gets past 30/40 not good enough too much movement to offside which attracts pad glance

  • 23.
  • At 11:00 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Jaizon wrote:

Good day, but the guys need to show they can back up a good situation with some consistency and ram home their advantage.
It's the established players who now need to lead and put the test beyond reach. Show us what you can do.

Good Luck!

  • 24.
  • At 11:01 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Daniel Y wrote:

Ok amborose has done well. but lets nt forget prior had a similar start.lets ply him for a few more games before we call him what england have been looking for all along

  • 25.
  • At 11:06 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Daniel Y wrote:

Ok amborose has done well. but lets nt forget prior had a similar start.lets ply him for a few more games before we call him what england have been looking for all along

  • 26.
  • At 11:10 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Patrick wrote:

What a great day, Ambrose, Collingwood and Anderson our star players in this game so far, coming in at 136/5 on such a wicket and scoring a century in good time is great...Collingwood was the glue at the other end and Anderson bowled really well.

England's to lose I would think, really looking forward to Day 3.

  • 27.
  • At 11:11 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Gareth wrote:

This is a very good turn around and its good to see the lads not relying on Monty for a change.

My only worry is when the pitch doesn't turn how effective is Monty?

Dont get me wrong I think he is intergil (sp!) to Englands team and I think his batting is improving slightly, but his feilding seems to be one step forward, then 2 back!

I am a massive fan of Rashid at Yorkshire. He always seems to impress in all 3 area's of the game.

  • 28.
  • At 11:15 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Mark Kidger wrote:

A much better performance from England after a limp morning display. Jimmy Anderson has been extremely erratic over the last few months, but today has been at his lethal best, unrecognisable from the bowler who was so expensive and innocuous in the ODIs.

One thing that no one has mentioned: whatever Andrews Strauss's travails with the bat in the first innings, the England slip fielding has improved out of all recognition with him back in the side. How many runs has that been worth to the team? Not a single catchable chance has gone begging in the slip cordon.

Now, England have to finish the job. At the current rate of progress this match may not last much beyond lunch on the fourth day.

  • 29.
  • At 11:20 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Jim McGrath wrote:

It's nice to see the old Jimmy Anderson back, the one who burst onto the scene so dramatically - was it really five years ago now? What he showed today is what was seen back then - that he can swing the ball a lot at good pace and make good batsmen struggle. The problem is that he can't do it week in week out, and when he gets it wrong he can be easy to hit - his last few overs this morning were really quite expensive.

It was also nice to see Colly get into the wickets, and after a slow start with the ball in test matches he now seems to be settling into the role of batting all-rounder, and picking up wickets regularly. This has to be good for the balance of the team. I understand why Anderson and Ambrose are getting the majority of the praise, but bowling out tailenders quickly and cheaply is an art (look at how long Monty hung around in the Second innings at Hamilton), and Colly made it look easy today - how about a mention for him?

So, tonight / tomorrow is the chance for the top order to prove themselves worthy of their places. They've all had at least one good start to an innings, and there's been a few scores of 40 - 60, but it's time for a couple of them to stand up and take an innings by the scruff of the neck. If not, I hope we see some sweeping changes when we get back to England for the summer...

  • 30.
  • At 11:30 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • BrucieB wrote:

Hmmm.... still poised, but England in the box seat.

The thing about Anderson playing for Auckland beforehand was that a) it was a one game invite which b) was odd in the midst of a tour and c) kept promising Auks out of that team; and d) worked against the kiwis because he got the bad game (1-100 or sommat) out of the way, making e) a perfect warm-up for the test. Not clever thinking Auckland! Darn.

  • 31.
  • At 11:43 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Bobby B wrote:

Well, I hope that has shut up all the whingeing Hoggard fans, who would have played Broad for Harmison and left Anderson out.

They have missed the point. Cricket (or any sport) is not about what you did last year, last month or last week. It is about the here and now. If Hoggard is not bowling well - and just compare his runs/over and wickets with Sidebottom in Hamilton - then leave him out and play someone else. The captain and coach have got to be the best judges of that.

Too much living in the past is the curse of British sport - look at all the Beckham nonsense.

  • 32.
  • At 11:47 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Tom wrote:

Good bowling by Anderson seems to have distracted us from the fact that we had another shambolic innings with the bat, and I include Ambrose with that. The difference between 97 and 102 is purely a personal one. Converting hundreds into big scores wins test matches and at times this morning he didn't look like he could bat. Again we have to point out the tail order scored less between them than the extras column. True Ambrose and Collingwood did well yesterday, but they should have been aiming to put the hurt on the Kiwis today.

  • 33.
  • At 11:50 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Cricket Fan wrote:

Good to see England performing at their best. Specially Anderson was spot on. I feel really sad that, BBC is not even bothered to show the highlights of this cricket matches. Cricket is probably the second popular game in England and BBC has no intention of bringing this game a step further for their viewers.

  • 34.
  • At 11:55 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Nicky Boje wrote:

"Dare we hope that England have finally found their man in the vital wicket-keeper/batsman role?"

Yes but just wait until Ambrose drops any sort of chance then all the obsessed followers of the Chris Read cult will be out in full force again!

  • 35.
  • At 11:57 AM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • JR wrote:

Agree with the sentiments regarding Ambrose, but recent history suggests that any run of low scores will bring unbearable pressure on him - let us hope not!

Does anyone doubt that the loss of troy cooley has been a massive blow to us and that Harmison has been a shadow of his former powers since he departed?

Scandal that Hoggard was dropped after one pooor game, on this basis 3 of the top 5 would be sitting alongside Hoggie and watching

  • 36.
  • At 12:02 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Al Murray wrote:

Well done England, where have all the doom and gloom merchants gone ?!

  • 37.
  • At 12:04 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Nicky Boje wrote:

"Dare we hope that England have finally found their man in the vital wicket-keeper/batsman role?"

Yes but just wait until Ambrose drops any sort of chance then all the obsessed followers of the Chris Read cult will be out in full force again!

  • 38.
  • At 12:04 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Joey Blinez wrote:

How nice to finally play well. Broad and Jimmy have vindicated their selection. Come on top 5 sort it out and let's win a test!!

  • 39.
  • At 12:05 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ian S wrote:

Will Oram and Sinclair come out and apologize for their behaviour after they were both given correctly out?

Teams seem to want umpires to say sorry when they get one wrong, so why don't the players come out and do the same?

  • 40.
  • At 12:16 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • apek wrote:

Michael (comment 6)
unfortunately the BBC has never broadcast even a second of live cricket (on the television) from winter tours so your criticism is a little misplaced. It took the evil Sky to realise that people might be interested in it. What the BBC does (and always has) is exceptional ball-by-ball radio coverage. My highlight of last night was Vic patiently explaining to Aggers that Kurt Weill is sadly no longer with us.......vintage stuff.

  • 41.
  • At 12:16 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Sam wrote:

I would like to mention one little thing from observation, as Aggers mentioned Strauss taking a good catch at 1st slip, i have to say thats something we have missed, experienced slip fielders (Tres, Flintoff, Staruss) so i hope he can notch in annother 50 tomoro to keep his place so we can keep the good fielding!

  • 42.
  • At 12:17 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ian Hirst wrote:

It's important not to get carried away with their performances. There's been too many falsedawns befoe with Anderson and other wicket keepers.

When Ambrose is doing this kind of batting aginst the likes of Australia, South Africa and India, then we will have found the long term successor to Alec Stewart.

Look at Jones, Prior, Nixon, Read. All started well with England but fell away dramatically.

Same with Anderson, I remember him getting taken apart by the Aussies and he wasn't much good on the sub-continent so he has a lot to prove.

  • 43.
  • At 12:57 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Guy Riddell wrote:

Any chance of Auckland giving Harmison and Hoggard a game this week?

  • 44.
  • At 12:58 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • scottishwolf II wrote:


Hoggard bowled on a very different pitch with very different conditions to Anderson. I strongly suspect Anderson would have been carted all over the shop if he had bowled in the first test and Hoggard would have got some pretty tidy figures on a pitch like the second test is being played on.

The harsh reality is we have ditched a fine test bowler who has had about 1 bad game for England - the first test. We have replaced him with a bowler who is always inconsistent - I would even doubt his effectiveness in the second innings of this match, let alone whether he will be able to sustain this form into the 3rd test. I would imagine the NZ management team will put a lot of pressure on the groundsman to produce a pitch much like the first test - then watch Anderson get 1-132. Truly a false dawn.

  • 45.
  • At 12:59 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • hermes solomonides wrote:

well done lads
i think sidebottom was exelent today...iknow he didnt take the keys wickets like anderson...but he was so accurate and asked alot from the batsmen at all times.
i also love his hair...he looks so beautiful as hes running in and that wind is blowing through his long locks.

  • 46.
  • At 01:00 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

I think we all need to take a deep breath and stop looking at the final figure. And look at the actual bowling in the first session Anderson got two wicket with the only two ball in got in the the write place all the rest where slightly to short and wide. This is not opinion hawk eye clearly showed this. So not bad but can he do it again in the second innings?

  • 47.
  • At 01:03 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Dr. Cajetan Coelho wrote:

England front line bowlers have done a fantastic job. Anderson, Broad, Sidebottom and Collingwood showed their true class. Spinner Monty could have an important role in the final innings.

  • 48.
  • At 01:11 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • James Gleadow wrote:

Well done Anderson. England should utilise him when conditions will suit him.
TMS provide an excellent service but that interview at lunch was very disappointing. A pleasant chat maybe but what was needed was some tough questioning. Easy to provide 'straight-talking answers' to pathetically soft questioning. I like the idea of the IPL but not the way it is being protected in relation to the ICL, Bond and other cricketers.

  • 49.
  • At 01:18 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • IrishTel wrote:

Well done bowlers.

My only worry, if the batting line fails again, and it nearly did this time, does it mean the bowling will be changed, because that is what they have always done in the past. If we lose, it is somehow because not enough bowlers can bat. If we win, leave the batting alone.

And leave Monty alone Aggers - Pieterson's bad throw was worse. Monty's lack of progress has been disappointing, but you have to wonder how much is down to the steady drip feed of confidence knocking.

Cricket fans believe in him but the establishment seem keen to highlight the weakness and take for granted the strengths. It is almost as though his achievements and popularity are resented by the press and management elite. This happened to Anderson who has had to fight back from it. No doubt after his next poor set of bowling figures he will once agin be talked of as "not test material".

  • 50.
  • At 01:20 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Dave Sarney wrote:

Strauss has deservedly taken some stick for his batting in this series, but at least when he plays we have someone in the slips who can catch. Not to be underestimated when trying to bowl a side out twice in a match.

  • 51.
  • At 01:23 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Chris Stewart wrote:

Has anyone noticed the ever improving performances of Paul Collingwood. He may sound a bit dopey but I think he's got his cricket together.

Where does he rank in the allrounders league table?

  • 52.
  • At 01:47 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Rich wrote:

Guys, let's not be too hasty about Anderson. The man can bowl us into a victory and cost us one the next. I'm waiting to see if Anderson will actually step up and prove himself to the bowler he's talked up to be.

  • 53.
  • At 01:49 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Graham wrote:

Paul (10:01) - so what, we should have a free for all everytime a player disagrees with a decision? Its not up to the players to umpire the game. Umpires make mistakes as players do. They learn from their mistakes as players do.

The 2 decisions in question today, the umpires made the right decisions and technology has proved it. The mentality of "the umpire's decision is final" is the absolutely the right one and should be more prevolent in other sports.

As for the match, England made the most of the conditions where NZ didn't. Great performance by England, now they have to take advantage, bat all day and then leave themselves 2 days to bowl NZ out.

  • 54.
  • At 01:58 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Andy Nelson wrote:

Steady on...I certainly wouldn't say that Ambrose is the answer quite yet. Geraint Jones and Matt Prior both scored lovely tons early on in their career and we all said the same thing. I think his glove work is decent but until he's got five steady centuries under his belt I will not be getting carried away (well not again anyway).

Just wanted to say how much I think Jimmy Anderson has to offer - obviously his performance last night was superb, but i think he has all the attributes to be a genuinely world class bowler if he can remain patient and grow into the 5 day game with age. swings it both ways,got nice pace and could become a real nightmare for opener's all over the world - exciting times!

Sad to see Harmy a bit down and out because I rate him so highly but unfortunately I think his heart is elsewhere since his glory days and if you don't want it enough you'll never be a world class test cricketer. Lets hope he get's that hunger back soon hey...

  • 55.
  • At 02:03 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • David C. wrote:

Perhaps to reiterate what others have said...

1. Ambrose has kept wicket tidily and played two good innings in one and a half tests. That doesn't prove that he is the new Alan Knott. We seem to have been here a couple of times before in the last few years....
2. James Anderson bowled very well today. The pattern of his test career is that he has the occasional good days, separated by large numbers of bad days. The bad days tend to occur against the better test sides, and NZ, like England, are not currently among the better test sides. (I stress 'like England', as I do not want to contribute further to the wel-justified comments that England supporters assume that any other side than England and Australia is a bad one.)
3. In their first innings, England scored 176-9, with a single excellent stand making the difference between the sides. It could easily have been 185 all out and, as another correspondent has pointed out, another 5-70 by England's top order and the game is back in the balance. England have had four good sessions of the six in this test. This does not mean that England is back to 2004-5 standards. English cricketers are largely gutless mediocrities because they mostly come from county cricket, which by its nature breeds gutless medioctrities. Lightning only strikes occasionally (Ian Botham, the short-lived 2004-5 side), and it certainly hasn't struck the current team.

If they can press home the advantage which have, and if they can do the same in the third test, then it is possible that there is the beginnings of a better team. But it's a very big 'if'.

David C.

  • 56.
  • At 02:16 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Jiimmy Muldoon wrote:

While i hope we have found the answer to the wicketkeeping problem I remember a certain other man recently scoring a test hundred on debut against the West Indies and then failing to live up to the position! Lets just hope we don't get a repeat!

  • 57.
  • At 03:16 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Elliot wrote:

Praise must go to Ambrose but we cannot afford to get over-excited at this stage, after seeing him in just a couple of Tests.

'Jimmy Muldoon' made the point of a certain other keeper reaching similar heights on debut against the West Indies and then showing flaws since- obviously referring to Matt Prior. Well the exact same thing happened with Geraint Jones. He too scored a hundred early on in his England career against New Zealand and also backed it up with efficient keeping. This was obviously until he also lost his way quite dramatically with both bat and particulary with the gloves and I bet if you asked many and England fan of their opinion on him now they's laugh at you.

Anyway, well done Ambrose, Anderson and the rest of the team but let's not get carried away quite yet.

  • 58.
  • At 03:39 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ben Willmott wrote:

Anderson bowled very well and i believe he deserves better than being first reserve bowler all the time at 25.

Ambrose did very well too, but it's much too early to suggest he the right man after 3 years- let's see.

How do we think Harmy would have suited to the bounce in the pitch??

  • 59.
  • At 03:51 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Nick wrote:

Please don't get too excited about Ambrose yet. He's had a good start against a team England shouldd be thumping every time. Remember Prior's first couple of knocks against a poor West Indies, and look where he is now. I hope AMbrose is the solution, but I'm not counting my chickens just yet

Ambrose looks the real deal. Finally a keeper who can use both gloves and a bat. Surely even our middle order cant mess up from this position!

  • 61.
  • At 05:13 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Dan wrote:

Usual balanced report Aggers. Good day for England, but they have to knuckle down and put a decent total together to put the pressure on NZ

Agree with Graham re Paul's comments. This is cricket, not a low grade reality show. If players don't respect the umpires decision then you might as well not bother having any rules in the first place! Footballers are condemned when they abuse the ref, though little is done about it, I would hate to see cricket go the same way for the sake of "better television" for the few people who regard foul mouthed abuse of officials as entertaining, rather than a game played hard, in the right spirit. (I don't remember anyone saying abusing the umpires in the Ashes 2005 would have increased the number of people turning back to cricket!)

  • 62.
  • At 05:13 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Dan Platt wrote:

I think it is far too soon to say whether England have found their new Alec Stewart.
Jones and Prior came in scoring good scores and both scoring hundreds early on in their England careers, and then fell by the wayside. Just because Ambrose's keeping is better than both Jones and Prior, who is say that his batting will stay as good as he has shown, he could easily quite become like Read and Foster, in the fact that they were keepers primarily and could bat a little bit.

  • 63.
  • At 05:18 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ahmad Malik wrote:

It is quite something from the last post by Aggers about the defeat in Hamilton generated 139 response at the same time (9 March, 1639GMT), but we only got 60 comments today. I guess jumping on the bandwagon is fun, eh?
Well done to England. I hope this will carry on to victory. I have faith in Vaughn's captaincy and Moores' decision.

Come on England!

  • 64.
  • At 05:29 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • apek wrote:

In response to several posts above:
Ambrose's ton and Prior's came under very different circumstances: Prior came in with the score already 363-5 and proceeded to flay a truly atrocious WIndies attack to all corners. England were in serious danger of losing the series when Ambrose came in, and he was under much more presure - he deserves huge credit (as does Collingwood) for his effort. If England win, that will be regarded as the turning point.
The reason Prior lost his place was for his keeping (you could say that he actually enhanced his batting reputation with 2 obdurate knocks in difficult circumstances in Sri Lanka) and so far Ambrose has impressed those who seem to know about these things. The trouble is, his innings here was 'Gilchrist-like' (in that he breathed life into a dying innings with aggressive strokeplay in difficult circumstances) and we all love a new Messiah. Give him (and everyone else) a chance.
Dare we hope for a 'grind-them-into-the-dust' second innings and victory in four days?

  • 65.
  • At 05:53 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Dan wrote:

Usual balanced report Aggers. Good day for England, but they have to knuckle down and put a decent total together to put the pressure on NZ

Agree with Graham re Paul's comments. This is cricket, not a low grade reality show. If players don't respect the umpires decision then you might as well not bother having any rules in the first place! Footballers are condemned when they abuse the ref, though little is done about it, I would hate to see cricket go the same way for the sake of "better television" for the few people who regard foul mouthed abuse of officials as entertaining, rather than a game played hard, in the right spirit. (I don't remember anyone saying abusing the umpires in the Ashes 2005 would have increased the number of people turning back to cricket!). Respect for the umpires and not questioning their decisions is not a public school attitude, it's part of the written laws of the game, and has been for a long time.

  • 66.
  • At 06:00 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • midnightrichard wrote:

In reply to comments 6 and 40...
It was the cricket authorities who sold the game out to Murdoch to cash in after England's ashes win.In a stroke they reduced the popularity of the game in this country, and ensured a reduced fan and grass roots base for cricket. Recall the great Richie Benaud's words at the time.
Some people got lots of dosh at the expense of the game.Most people have lost out through not being able to pay Sky(or to sit in a pub for 7 hours a day!).So we are left without tv cricket while administrators sit in luxury offices in Dubai.
And yes winter tours were never televised but that was then and this is now, when much more tv is available from technology.
But after all we do still have the radio and TMS(although even that was sacrificed to the greedheads for one year).
....And even if that means having to listen to Boycott giving it "when I..."in response to many questions: sneering at the unemployed and homeless, as well as players he takes exception to ("my mother would like to bowl at him" early in Symonds innings of about 150 in the Australian ashes series); and never admitting to being wrong! but i guess that's all a separate issue!
And finally there's a good article on Mack the Knife on Google on something like 'the true dope on M the K'....

  • 67.
  • At 06:04 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • R Long wrote:

As seen as a few people mentioned Collingwood's bowling I thought I'd drop a few stats in. Over his whole test career he has 14 wickets at 40.92. However, when you consider it it took 216 runs for him to get his first wicket, his stats since then become 13 wickets at 27.46. His last 12 wickets have cost 22.83 runs apiece! Who needs Flintoff back?

  • 68.
  • At 06:05 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Michael Scallon wrote:

Remember Prior's first couple of knocks against a poor West Indies,


Haven't Prior's early knocks set the tone for a great start to Test Cricket... with the bat. He was our best batsmen in Sri Lanka and maybe would be a better option than Strauss as a specialist batsmen

  • 69.
  • At 06:09 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Richard wrote:

Let's not get too carried away Aggers! Yes England had a good day, especially Jimmie Anderson. it was good to see him step up to the plate a deliver - getting the top 5 out! England's top 5 batsmen have been woeful of late, and we need a big lead to really put pressure on the game. Iam Smith said last night that teh pitch will get better & beter, making a 400+ run chase a possibility. We have to get 400 ahead first, something I am not that confident about. Hope I'm proved wrong! Then we have to get 10 wickets. So let's not get carried away just yet. We need to win this game and the next one too, in style as well! Keep going lads!

  • 70.
  • At 06:18 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • John wrote:

So "Ambrose looks the real deal".

There is one thing vitally important in all this and I don't want to take anything away from Ambrose. But there has been carping about wicket keepers for longer than I care to remember.

Jones, Prior and now Ambrose in my view have all been competent keepers, and have contributed with the bat, but they have all been playing for their place rather than for the team. This is no way to build confidence.

Well done to Anderson, and I hope Broad will be given a chance to prove himself.

But until the humiliation of the mauling given to us by the Assies last year is expunged - I continue to blame management.

  • 71.
  • At 06:22 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • John Watts wrote:

Definitely a very good day in the field for England. On paper, they are in a position to bat New Zealand out of it and have enough time to bowl them out. At the same time, I am still very nervous about England's batting --- I would be hesitant to put "England" and "only 250" in the same sentence.

Well, let's see. I'm looking forward to a weekend of good cricket. The time is very convenient for me --- from 4:30 p.m. to about 11:30 p.m.

Please excuse me if this appears twice. There was an error the first time.

  • 72.
  • At 06:23 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • satjit wrote:

A good day for England but one which masked the same old problems. From 300 for 5 to 350 odd all out! Given that we had two in-form batsmen at the cease, that is not a great performance.

Secondly, we seem to have gone from wanting to lynch the team 3 days ago to hailing it as a world beating performance. The English team and its fans need a bit more consistency.

Finally Aggers - you seem to have it in for Monty. You did not even want him bowling in Australia in 2006, preferring the unfit and less effective Giles. In an office, you do not get top class performance by knocking staff; the same is true for cricket. Your nurture players unless they prove they cannot deliver.

Back on this match, let us not get too complacent. If the Kiwis skittle us out fot 150, it could be a close thing.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for England.

Reference the article 'Low-Point for English Cricket'. Only in England is the axing of two veteran none-performing bowlers considered a 'low point'. If you don't perform you're dropped.. easy, simple, done.. Make way for younger, hungrier players who might be the next 'McGrath'. Yes, they have given great service, but Moore's is 100% right to axe and move on. Let's quit living in our Ashes glory from years ago, where's the future, where's the ruthlessness, THIS IS PROFESSIONAL SPORT, it's not sad or a low-point, it's how it SHOULD ALWAYS BE.

  • 74.
  • At 07:02 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • kash79 wrote:

English sporting media are astonishingly short-sighted and one-sided. We've seen similar analysis in Football and Tennis. One win- every thing's fine. One loss- All hell breaks loose.

- Anderson bowled well, in right conditions, when batsmen didn't attack
- Broad should make batsmen play more often; too many wide deliveries.
- Monty Penasar is unfit to field in under 13 school cricket
-Pietersen still has "above the fray" attitude about playing for Eng.
-Conditions were not that bad for batting
-New Zealand top order is probably the worst in test cricket
- Their lower middle order is probably one of the best along with Aus in test cricket.
-They should have promoted McCulum up the order in place of Sincliar.
-Oram has no defense. He should be sent with instructions to play aggressively.
-Overall, England played well and NZ top order (esp. Sincliar and Bell) played BAD cricket.
-NZ is a better team when they attack, which they didn't for better part
- Ambrose and Broad should be given a longer run in test cricket.
-It's clear youngsters revive a ailing cricket team.
- Strauss and Vaughan better score runs or else make space
-England are good enough team to win from here on. And NZ are good enough to make it a fight to the end.

Good day of test criket nevertheless.

Reference the article 'Low-Point for English Cricket'. Only in England is the axing of two veteran none-performing bowlers considered a 'low point'. If you don't perform you're dropped.. easy, simple, done.. Make way for younger, hungrier players who might be the next 'McGrath'. Yes, they have given great service, but Moore's is 100% right to axe and move on. Let's quit living in our Ashes glory from years ago, where's the future, where's the ruthlessness, THIS IS PROFESSIONAL SPORT, it's not sad or a low-point, it's how it SHOULD BE.

  • 76.
  • At 07:26 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • stev666 wrote:

Excellent bowling from the England unit. Anderson whom I thought would have a tough time, really atepped up and did the business, I hope he keeps it up.

Sidebottom bowled well but without much luck, as long as he continues to be miserly and keep it tight im sure he will have continued success.

Broad was a bit disappointing, im not convinced that he is quite ready. I would rather see Hoggard in for Broad at the moment. I was dubious of his selection from the very start, but thik they should stick with him for the rest of the series at the very least.

Collingwood supported the bowlers well, he is so unobtrusive sometimes you wonder if he is even on the pitch, but his figures cannot deny the contribution he makes.

Not much for Monty to do on this pitch it seems, with any luck he will get a look in at some point.

I was very pleased for Ambrose to get a century, although im a bit annoyed he didnt go on for more, I get the feeling he lost sight of the bigger picture and played for himself, as his quick exit after his ton seems to indicate. However It was still a much needed innings and well played.

Kp is a bit of a concern at the moment, I dont know whether its because he plays his natural game or he is trying to curb his natural instincts.

  • 77.
  • At 07:44 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Sophie wrote:

Why was Collingwood bowled before Monty?!

  • 78.
  • At 08:13 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • John Watts wrote:

Definitely a very good day in the field for England. On paper, they are in a position to bat New Zealand out of it and have enough time to bowl them out. At the same time, I am still very nervous about England's batting --- I would be hesitant to put "England" and "only 250" in the same sentence.

Well, let's see. I'm looking forward to a weekend of good cricket. The time is very convenient for me --- from 4:30 p.m. to about 11:30 p.m.

Please excuse me if this appears more than once. There was an error the first 4 times I tried. Why am I trying 5 times? Well, here goes!

  • 79.
  • At 08:18 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Finbar Nile wrote:

Ambrose's knock was better then Prior's. When Prior walked out at Lords, England were 363-5. When Ambrose entered the fray in Wellington England were 136-5.
Thats a huge difference in terms of pressure on the batsman.

  • 80.
  • At 08:45 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Mat wrote:

Perfect conditions for jimmy out there, its his back yard with the movement hes getting. Theres a forecast for a few showers on the sunday here (wellington) but i don't think it will be enough to save the kiwis. This morning has come up blue sky and sunshine, series to level 1-1.

  • 81.
  • At 08:57 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Andrew wrote:

I'm pleased Ambrose did so well getting his first hundred and he has kept nicely. However, it is important we don't big him up like we did to Prior after he got a hundred in his first test. He must be given time, however he does have the makings of a very good wicket-keeper

  • 82.
  • At 09:22 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Ray wrote:

Have no clue why people are so happy about Ambrose. Does no one remember Prior? 100 on debut, considered by all to have had a good first series and made the scapegoat for the defeats to sri-lanka, which last weeks performace show had nothing much to do with him! Ambrose did good. But to say he's our solution to the wicket keeper problem is very permature! If he's still deserved 1st choice in the Ashes then we can say its problem solved!

  • 83.
  • At 09:27 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Bill wrote:

A thought on Collingwood's bowling and figures: why is it that occasional bowlers often seem to have good figures?

Is it because they bowl at tailenders, who wouldn't be good enough to edge the bigger movement of the front line bowlers?

It seems, when you read match figures, like an error from the captain when the top bowlers have figures like 3-80 from 25 overs and the last used has 3-15 from 6.

I think some part timers are under-rated when judged on figures (don't have capitalist telly so I rely on TMS and reading reports) - Colly, KP, Vaughan himself all seem to show this.

  • 84.
  • At 09:34 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Nicolas P L Whipp wrote:

Re comment no. 12
Umpires have one hell of a task. They do a superb job. They can make mistakes don't we all. But their decisions should be accepted without dissent until such time as decisions are always refered to a third umpire. By the way well done England. Also Aggers I did go to the same school as you re final comment in above comment no. 12.

  • 85.
  • At 09:59 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

Play a bowling attack that has had sufficient preparation and you will get results. Harmison and Hoggard might well have had similar results after their 'warm up' in Hamilton to Anderson and Broad. This is not to detract in the least to the latter's performances.

Blaming players for poor performances is easy, however, in any context can an individual be at their best when under-prepared? The powers that be must look to develop appropriate itinaries for overseas tours which will allow ALL members of the touring party to be at the peak of their powers before the opening test of a series.

  • 86.
  • At 10:23 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • John wrote:

Oram was blatantly not out. The man's 6 foot 6! It hit him well above the knee roll. I have my doubts about Sinclair's dismissal as well. Umpiring on day two was atrocious.

  • 87.
  • At 01:13 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • STGEORGE wrote:

the bbc is owned by american corporate interests who want to see cricket die.
protest now !

  • 88.
  • At 06:01 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Simon Clements wrote:

This is a strange tour. Each team manages two easy wins in a row,
whether its T20, 50s or tests. Nuts.
Its good to see Anderson achieving.
It took Ozzie Brett Lee until this
year to show his quality which he has
always promised to deliver. If Lee was English he'de be playing county cricket because he didn't perform when required and their selectors pander to critics.
Vaughan reminds me of Colin Cowdrey at 44. He's past it but the punters love him. Look at his footwork now compared to when he first came to Australia.
The hunger isn't there .

  • 89.
  • At 12:22 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • trent wrote:

to be honest anderson has always had the potential even if he went through some tough periods where he lost form.

panesar should be dropped for swann as he is not an international quality player yet. his bowling is ok but he cant field or bat 2 save his life.

he will not be dropped nor will pieterson despite poor form as they are now cult heroes!

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