Ross Taylor hit a magnificent 154 for New Zealand today, the highest score by a Kiwi batsman in Old Trafford Tests, and the tourists ended day two well on top after claiming four England wickets..
Resuming at 202 for 4 this morning, Taylor and Jacob Oram added 47 runs in the first hour before England were gifted two wickets in one crazy over.
First, Oram hesitated over a quick single and then failed to run his bat in as Alistar Cook's throw hit the wicket at the bowler's end. Third umpire Ian Gould had an easy decision to make with Oram a couple of yards short.
Even worse followed for New Zealand two balls later, with Daniel Vettori the culprit. The New Zealandd skipper, ambling a second run, made no attempt to ground his bat, but Monty Panesar's accurate throw to Tim Ambrose forced another referral. Vettori was clearly surprised when the replay showed he had failed to land neither bat nor foot across the crease in time.
Handed the initiative back with New Zealand at 250 for 6, and the injured Daniel Flynn unlikely to bat, England's bowlers lost their way, failing to take a single wicket with the ball during the morning session.
It was Taylor and Kyle Mills who instead took the game to England either side of the interval in an entertaining partnership of 89. Mills made a Test-best 57 with the England attack bowling far too short and wide.
Mills eventually chopped an Anderson delivery on to his stumps, but Taylor continued the attack moving from 100 to 150 in 42 balls, smashing 5 sixes during his innings. Taylor's 150 arrived with a six on to the top tier of the Washbrook & Statham Stand off Ryan Sidebottom, before Anderson ended the innings with the wickets of O'Brien and Martin to give England's ragged attack some much needed relief.
Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss replied with a steady start, but with the score at 33 Cook was unlucky to given out lbw to an O'Brien delivery that jagged back sharply, but seemed to be bouncing over the stumps.
Strauss went on to compile a patient half-century before falling to a brilliant, one-handed, diving catch by wicket keeper McCullum while Michael Vaughan struggled manfully to 30, only to fall shortly before the close to opposite skipper Vettori.
It could have been worse for the home side with Kevin Pietersen surviving an lbw scare, but New Zealand capped a fine day when How snapped up night watchman Sidebottom at slip to leave England 229 runs in arrears and firmly on the back foot.
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd
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