Shamik Das


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Captains fantastic shine after the showers

Michael Vaughan    Daniel Vettori

Lord's, first Test, fourth day: New Zealand 40/0 and 277 trail England 319 (Vaughan 106, Strauss 63, Cook 61; Vettori 5-69) by two runs


MICHAEL VAUGHAN equalled Graham Gooch's record of six centuries at Lord's and Daniel Vettori recorded his best figures against England as the inclement weather held up to allow a full day's play.

Vaughan's innings took a while to get going, as he played himself in following his recent poor form, hitting only one boundary in his first 81 balls.

From then on, he slowly accelerated away, switching roles from anchor to stroke-maker once Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell were dismissed, taking just 79 balls to reach his second fifty compared to 125 for his first.

Pietersen's wicket was Vettori's first, trapped leg before despite a huge stride forward. Then, after Bell was caught behind off Chris Martin, Paul Collingwood nicked one to Ross Taylor off Vettori who then dismissed Tim Ambrose first ball plumb in front - the England wicket-keeper offering no stroke.

Ninth man out Monty Panesar was Vettori's next victim, caught by Daniel Flynn at short-leg second ball, before Vaughan holed out on the deep midwicket boundary going for a six, James Marshall's catch giving his captain his 250th Test wicket.

Michael Vaughan: Another elegant stroke en route to his sixth century at Lord's    Golden strike: Daniel Vettori makes a successful appeal to dismiss Tim Ambrose first ball

"When you come to Lord's and you've had so much success here it's always a nice place to be coming back to when you need a score," said Vaughan.

"The practice facilities are always excellent, the wicket here suits my style of play, I know the angles of the ground, the slope and everything about it; I just fancied that this week could be a hundred for me."

Vettori, having made the honours board at the fifth time of asking, knows that a draw is the best New Zealand can hope for: "It's going to take something special to force a victory, but last-day cricket can spring all kinds of funny things.

"I'd like to see the ball swing, but Monty bowled beautifully so could have a big part to play. We'll have to get wickets in little clusters to get them under pressure, but we've certainly got the attack to cause a few problems tomorrow."

With the scores all but level, twenty wickets remaining and only 98 overs to play, the odds are that these evenly matched teams will be all square going to Old Trafford on Friday, the series very much alive.

Live text commentary of day five on Cricinfo
Live audio commentary on Test Match Special

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