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Spinners’ day out at Old Trafford; England at 76/1 chasing 294

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New Zealand’s delight of bowling out England for 202 was short-lived as they themselves got bundled out for 114 on an intriguing third day’s play at Old Trafford. The test is now headed for an exciting finish on the fourth day with England requiring 218 more to win and the Kiwis needing another 9 wickets. Both sides have an equal chance with the batting side not requiring too many runs to get while there is enough turn and bounce for Daniel Vettori to run through the batting line-up.

As many as 16 wickets tumbled down on the third day’s play! It was a day that was dominated by left arm spinners from both the sides. While Daniel Vettori’s 5 for 66 in 31 overs bowled England out for 202, Monty Panesar was even more destructive with 6 for 37 in 17 overs to bowl out the Kiwis in just over 41 overs! England had only resumed their first innings at the start of the day’s play and towards the end, it was already their second essay in progress.

Starting at 152/4, England lost their big fish Pietersen (29) caught in the slips off Vettori very early in the day. The other overnight batsman Ian Bell too departed soon which was followed with a superb arm ball from Vettori which made Paul Collingwood a dead duck. England lost all their main batting to collapse at 164 for 7. There was no reprieve at all as the Kiwis did the clean up job with perfection unlike England which conceded two significant partnerships on the second day. Stuart Broad was the only one to make a telling contribution making 30 from 50 balls with 4 fours to get his side 179 runs short of New Zealand’s first innings total. Supporting Daniel Vettori was medium pacer Iain O’Brien, who came up with an impressive 3 for 49 in 23 overs while Mills got two wickets towards the end of the innings.

The situation was perfect for New Zealand to bat England out of the match having already got a 179-run lead. But the English bowlers had other ideas and all of them combined to complement Monty Panesar to have their team in the hunt. At one stage, the Kiwis had lost 7 wickets for the addition of just 29 runs in the space of 17.1 overs! They were also a batsman short as Daniel Flynn wasn’t fit to bat having got injured in the first innings by a bouncer. And Monty Panesar, who ended up with six wickets had got 4 lbws in his favour. That also included the prized scalp of first innings hero Ross Taylor, who made just 15 this time. The top scorers for the Kiwis in their second innings were Jamie How with 29 and James Marshall with 28.

Chasing 294 to win, England got off to an ideal start with 60 on the board before they lost Alastair Cook to Daniel Vettori. Cook made 28 while his opening partner Andrew Strauss remained unbeaten on 29. Skipper Vaughan has got himself to an unbeaten 12 and England would fancy their chances at 76 for 1 which had come in 27 overs. One big partnership is what is required for England to win this second Test but for that they will have to play Vettori very well tomorrow.

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