Sidebottom hands England control

Ryan Sidebottom claims 7 for 47 as New Zealand crumble.

    Mr Popular: Ryan Sidebottom of England celebrates
    the wicket of Matthew Bell [GALLO/GETTY]

    Ryan Sidebottom took seven for 47 Sunday, the best bowling return in a test on McLean Park, as England wrested control of the decisive third cricket test from New Zealand.

    Sidebottom's third bag in this series of five wickets or more in an innings prompted New Zealand's collapse from 103 for one, replying to England's 253, to be all out in its first innings for 168, a deficit of 85.

    By stumps, England was 91 for two in its second innings, leading by 176 with eight wickets and three days remaining on an easing pitch.

    Andrew Strauss was 42 not out and first-innings century-maker Kevin Pietersen was seven.

    Earlier in the day, teenage fast bowler Tim Southee had become the sixth New Zealand to take five wickets in an innings on debut, completing figures of five for 55 as New Zealand quickly wrapped up England's first innings.

    England resumed at 240 for seven and gave up its last three wickets for 13 runs in 4.1 overs.

    A 102-run partnership for New Zealand's second wicket between Stephen Fleming, in his final test match, and Jamie How lifted New Zealand to 103 for one after it had lost opener Matthew Bell in the first over of its innings.

    Black caps collapse

    Fleming's dismissal by Sidebottom for 59 signaled the onset of a slump which saw New Zealand's last nine wickets fall for 65 runs in 26.1 overs at the end of which Sidebottom had his seven-wicket bag.

    The haul lifted his wicket tally for the series to 23, beating the English record for a three-test series in New Zealand which stood at 19 and was shared by Darren Gough and Andy Caddick.

    After removing Bell before lunch for 0, Sidebottom dismissed Fleming for 59, How for 44 then raced through New Zealand's middle order, dismissing Mathew Sinclair for 7, Grant Elliott for 6, Brendon McCullum for 9 and Daniel Vettori for 14, the innings' third-highest score.

    In his devastating post-lunch spells, he took six wickets for 37 runs from 14.4 overs.

    Sidebottom sets those figures against returns of four for 90 and 6-49, including a hattrick, in the first test at Hamilton and one for 36 and five for 105 in the second at Wellington.

    He now has 23 wickets for 327 runs in the series at an average of 14.2.

    New Zealand won the first test by 189, the first occasion in tests that a player has taken a hattrick and 10 wickets in a match and been on the losing side.

    England won the second test at Wellington by 126 runs and the current test, which now seems certain to produce a result, will decide the series.

    Ryan Sidebottom relaxes after
    his haul [GALLO/GETTY]
    Sidebottom shines

    Sidebottom came to New Zealand in the shadow of Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard as the third of England's front-line bowlers.

    He quickly established himself as their best bowler during the five-match limited overs series against New Zealand and has steadily enhanced his reputation through the test series.

    Harmison and Hoggard were dropped after poor performances in the Hamilton test and Sidebottom has gone on to form an effective alliance with his new-ball partner James Anderson and the youngster Stuart Broad.

    The son of a one-test England representative, Sidebottom has become the bulwark of the England attack, a yeoman worker for his captain Michael Vaughan and a cult figure among England's travelling army of supporters.

    "This morning we were faced with losing a game pretty quickly but it came together and we put the ball in the right areas,'' said Sidebottom.

    "It's not easy and there's been a lot of twists and turns but we'd like to be more consistent as a team. With three days left anything can happen and we need to be on the ball tomorrow.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


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