Tag Archives: Alistair Cook

Bowled Over – Australia Complete Ashes Whitewash – By Luqman Liaqat

Australia eased to a 281-run victory inside three day at Sydney to complete a 5-0 Ashes whitewash against England.

The third day was a subject of surrender from the tourists, as they were bowled out for 166 in 31.4 overs after being set a target of 448 with Michael Carberry’s top score of 43.

Ryan Harris (5-25) applied the polishing touches, taking the final two wickets of Stuart Broad and Boyd Rankin while Mitchell Johnson claimed three victims to finish with a total of 37 wickets for the series.

The opening day of the fifth and final test begun with a different look for England as Alaistair Cook won the toss for the first time in the series and put the hosts into bat first.

David Warner fell early for 16 when he was bowled by a Broad inswinger and then Ben Stokes saw Chris Rodgers play onto his own stumps when attempting a pull on 11.

Stokes was the beneficiary for the Australian skipper Michael Clarke’s downfall when he edged straight to Ian Bell at second slip. The fourth wicket of Shane Watson was England’s first lbw of the series as the hosts were left teetering on 94-4 at lunch.

After the break, George Bailey became the fifth Aussie batsman to fall cheaply, however as in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne that was a green light for another fightback from Brad Haddin.

Rankin went off with an injury and debutant Scott Borthwick was under an assault having his first three overs go for 21. Haddin raced to his fourth half-century of the Ashes series off 70 balls, with strong support from Steve Smith.

Seeing the end of Haddin’s innings was a huge surprise when he edged to Cook for 75 and the partnership with Smith was worth 128 moving the score onto 225-6.

Smith profited from England’s many short balls and full tosses, the Australian right hander crashed a six and four from consecutive balls to move to his third test ton.

After Johnson’s dismissal, Harris smashed James Anderson for two boundaries before driving Stokes to short extra-cover for 22. Stokes then had Peter Siddle and Smith (115) in next three balls for admirable figures of 6-99 as the Austrian innings closed on 326.

Before the close, more misery was to hit England, this time with the bat as Carberry fended Johnson to a diving Nathan Lyon before Cook and night watchman Anderson survived at stumps on 8-1.

The horror show began from the off on day two for England as soon as the skipper himself left an inswinger from Harris for a plumb leg before. After Bell was dropped by Watson, nightwatchman Anderson followed shortly edging Johnson to a diving Clarke at second slip.

From 14-3 it became 17-4 when Kevin Pietersen pushed Harris (3-36) with hard hands leaving Watson with a simple catch. Bell was still struggling and only got off the mark after 40 minutes at the crease before Siddle produced a beautiful delivery to take his outside edge.

With a target of 127 to avoid the follow-on, there was a chance for the match being finished in two days. After debutant batsman Gary Ballance fell, Stokes provided a dogged effort to add 49 on the eighth wicket with Jonny Bairstow (18).

Stokes was out for 47 when he shouldered arms to have his off stumps hammered back by Siddle (3-23). Borthwick edged to third slip as England collapsed to an abysmal 155-all out.

The hosts started their second innings with a lead of 171, Anderson struck straight away for a leg before of Warner and had Watson caught behind for nine as the English seamers toiled in the warm evening.

Broad had Clarke for six and Stokes saw Smith edge to Cook at slip but Rodgers scored another careful fifty with Bailey who was on a handy 20 not out as Australia were on 140-4 at stumps (311 runs ahead).

Rodgers transformed his overnight 73 into another ton as he cut Pietersen away for his 14th boundary from 143 deliveries and extended the stand with Bailey to 109.

Bailey scored 46, before pulling Broad into Borthwick’s palms in the deep and it was the first of six wickets going down at either side of lunch. Haddin (28) was aggressive before dragging Borthwick onto his stumps and Johnson was bowled by Stokes (2-62), giving him eight victims for the match.

Rodgers 119 run stay at the crease came to an end when Borthwick claimed a diving catch from his own bowling and then had Harris caught in the deep for 13.

Rankin picked the final wicket of Siddle for his maiden test scalp, caught behind, as the hosts second innings closed on 276 and set the tourists a target of 448.

Cook (7) fenced a short ball from Johnson and then edged behind before Bell after a making a promising start guided a cut off Harris straight to gully.

When Pietersen was on his way for six to Harris, a familiar England batting disarray was under way.

Carberry showed some resistance, but was sent packing to the second ball of the evening session by Johnson. Three deliveries later, Balance (7) was hit on the pads from one that kept low from the tourists’ nemesis Johnson.

Lyon then had his say taking two wickets in an over, Bairstow fell for duck to an excellent catch by Bailey at short-leg and Clarke pulled off an absolutely magnificent low catch to see off Borthwick.

Stokes (32) reacted by going on an all-out attack, dominating a stand of 44 with Broad before being bowled out when attempting a slog of Harris.

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Bowled Over – England destroy Australia for 2-0 lead – By Luqman Liaqat

England hammered Australia by 347 runs at Lord’s to take a 2-0 lead and tighten their grip on the Ashes urn.

Australia were skittled out for 235 late on day four, having to chase 583 to win after England declared on 349-7 when Joe Root was dismissed for an incredible 180.

After winning the toss and batting first England fell to 28-3, Alistair Cook was brought across his stumps and trapped leg before by Shane Watson. In the next over, Root fell lbw to the recalled Ryan Harris (5-72) and Kevin Pietersen edged him behind to the keeper leaving England in trouble during Her Majesty the Queen’s presence.

As the Australian bowling attack looked a little lack lustre after the lunch interval, England hit eight boundaries in seven overs. Jonathon Trott was fluent, bringing up his fifty in 77 balls, his attacking commitment turned out to be his demise when he flicked Harris off his hips straight to Usman Khawaja at deep square leg.

Peter Siddle bowled out Jonny Bairstow earlier in his innings however it was judged a no-ball by the umpire. The pair then put another 46 runs in a fifth-wicket partnership of 144 with Ian Bell which looked to have put England in control.

Bell brought up his hard worked century of 200 balls to take England within the close of play, only for Michael Clarke to gamble throwing the ball to Steve Smith (3-18) as he removed Bell (109), Bairstrow (67) and Matt Prior as the hosts slipped from 271-4 to 289-7 at stumps.

On day two, Tim Bresnan hit six boundaries to reach 30 runs before being dismissed by Watson. A last wicket partnership of 48 between Stuart Broad (33) and Graeme Swann (22) helped England reach a fighting first innings total of 361.

Before lunch in Australia’s reply Watson was sent back to the pavilion by Bresnan for 30 as the tourists reached 42-1.

After the interval, Chris Rogers fell for 15 when he attempted to lash a high Swann full toss which struck him on the box. Roger’s didn’t ask for DRS (Decision Review System) but replays showed the ball was missing the stumps.

Phil Hughes (1) took a wild swipe at Bresnan and was taken by Prior and Khawaja spooned Swann straight to Pietersen. Smith was Swann’s third victim and Stuart Broad had the prize wicket of the Aussie skipper Clarke (28) with a full delivery that hit him in front of the leg stump as Australia slumped to 96-7 at tea.

In the final session, the tourists didn’t last long as Haddin edged the Nottinghamshire spin wizard Swann to slip and James Anderson dismissed Siddle. Australia’s last wicket added 28 before Swann (5-44) had another to complete his five-wicket haul as a horrendous innings came to an end on 128-all out.

England began the second innings already a huge 233 runs ahead, however the Aussies came out hitting the pitch hard especially Siddle (3-65) as Cook (8) and Trott (0) played successive deliveries back onto their stumps. Pietersen also fell before the close for five when he smashed a wide delivery to point closing day two on 31-3 with a lead of 264.

Day three was all about one man, the Yorkshire youngster Root who scored an unbeaten masterclass of 178 to put England in control of the Second test.
Root and Bresnan took on the morning session rather calmly as the pair scored 81 runs in the 30 overs.

It was mainly about occupying the crease and increasing the lead as much as they could, moving the score to 114-3.

The fourth-wicket partnership was worth 99, before Bresnan (38) fell quickly after lunch to James Pattinson when he pulled a short ball to Rogers in front of square.

Bell appeared to have been caught out early in his innings when he fended off a short-ball from Harris to the gully fielder Smith after checking replays the third umpire Tony Hill gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt.

Early in the evening session Root competed his century from 125 balls, Bell and Root scored 109 run in 17 overs either side of tea as England gained advantage of some poor Aussie bowling display with a stand of 153.

After reaching his 36th Test century, Bell looked to up the scoring, hitting another quick 24 runs as he cut, drove and swept before hammering Smith to mid-wicket.

Root played only 64 balls to get from 100 to 150, and at one point he launched Smith out of the ground twice off three balls. Bairstrow joined Root in the middle as the Yorkshire duo saw out the day to 344-5 with a massive lead of 566 runs.

Root was out for 180, he tried dinking Siddle over the wicket-keeper’s head which meant Cook and England declared immediately on 349-7, setting the tourists an improbable victory target of 583.

The chase began disastrously for Australia, in the seventh over Anderson struck removing Watson for 20 on the back of three fours from successive balls.

Swann’s variations completely fooled Rogers as the opener left a straight delivery which turned and clipped his off stump. Two-down soon became three for Australia as Hughes was given lbw and his decision to review fell in vain as tourists were in trouble on 36-3 at lunch.

Only Clarke (51) and Khawaja (54) showed some resist putting on a stand of 98 together, but before tea they were both on their way as first Clarke glanced Root (2-9) to leg slip and then Khawaja thick edged him to Anderson at second slip. In this game the Yorkshire man just couldn’t be kept out of the action with bat and then with the ball.

When Bresnan removed Smith and Ashton Agar the Aussies were all but dead and buried as an obvious conclusion drew ever so closer.

Swann (78-4) had an eighth victim of the match, when Haddin was given lbw for padding up with no Australian reviews remaining the wicket-keeper was powerless to have the decision overturned which looked to be missing the stumps.

Anderson (2-54) ripped through Siddle to break a partnership of 30 with Pattinson, as the score read a terrible 192-9. Seven more overs came and went, with plenty of close calls before Swann got one to fizz past Pattinson ending the last-wicket resistance of 43 from the tourist as they were finally bowled out for 235.

It gave England a massive 347 runs win and a 2-0 lead in the five-match Ashes series. After a 10-day break the two oldest foes go head-to-head on 1st August at the Emirates Old Trafford in a game without Pietersen after he took no part on day four with an injured calf and is ruled out for the third test.

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Bowled Over- England take 1-0 Lead in Ashes – By Luqman Liaqat

England clinched victory in the opening Ashes Test by only 14 runs on an unendurably intense final day at Trent Bridge.

Brad Haddin best efforts couldn’t take the tourist over the winning line as James Anderson claimed figures of 5-73 in the Australian second innings and equalled his match tally to ten wickets, setting the tourists a target of 311 which was mostly down to Broad and Bell’s stand of 138 on day four.

After electing to bat first on the first day, Alaistair Cook and Joe Root began the innings well after playing the opening nine overs calmly without any rash shots. James Pattinson bowled a wayward bouncer which was rightly given wide by the umpire to get the series off and running, however he was soon back in the action when Cook edged him behind to wicket-keeper Haddin.

Jonathon Trott came out taking the fight to the Australian bowlers, hitting Peter Siddle and debutant Ashton Agar for consecutive boundaries. Root also looked assured as the pair scored a 51-run partnership before Siddle bowled him out with a swinging yorker for 30, England reached 98-2 at lunch on day one.

Trott (48) played a reckless drive to deflect the ball back onto his stumps and Siddle had Kevin Pietersen caught at second slip for 14. Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow revived the England innings with a counter-attacking stand of 54, Bell fell caught at first slip and Siddle (5-50) claimed his fifth wicket when Matt Prior slapped the ball to point leaving England in trouble on 180-6.

After tea, England lost their final three wickets for two runs as they collapsed from 213-7 to 215-all out. James Anderson survived a hat-trick ball from Mitchell Starc (2-54) and Graeme Swann tamely chipped the ball to cover at the close of the innings.

In reply, Steve Finn had Shane Watson caught at slip and Ed Cowan in successive deliveries. Anderson also picked up two wickets Chris Rodgers first judged lbw and clean bowled Michael Clarke with an inswinging delivery leaving the Aussies 75-4 at the close of the opening day.

On day two it was all about one man, the Aussies Agar, who posted the highest score by a number 11 in test history. Earlier in the morning, Australia added 33 quick runs taking the score to 108 and Steve Smith reached 50 off 72 balls.

Anderson struck with the first dismissal of the day as Smith nicked behind which ignited a collapse. Swann bowled out Haddin, Siddle and Starc were both caught behind giving Anderson (5-85) two more wickets and after Pattinson’s fall the Aussies were 117-9 from 113-6 leaving them still 98 runs behind with only the last wicket remaining.

The fearless youngster Agar scored a brilliant 98 from 101 balls, facing a scare on six didn’t affect him as he struck two straight maximums off Swann and he pulled the ball really well.

His last-wicket stand with Phil Hughes (81 not out) was worth 163 the highest in test history and Australia reached 280 giving them a lead of 65.

Starc removed Root and Trott early in England’s second innings putting the Aussies in control at tea with England 11-2. Trott’s wicket provided a real taking point as umpire Marais Erasmus overturned Aleem Dar’s on field call and replays on HotSpot showed a clear edge off the bat.

Cook and Pietersen batted out the day with care through the evening session steering the hosts to 80-2 and a lead of just 15.

Pieterson started day three aggressively, driving an overpitched delivery by Starc to the boundary to reach his fifty and it was his fourth boundary in the opening half an hour. Once Pietersen and Cook’s partnership reached the hundred mark Pietersen (64) was bowled when he diverted the ball onto his own stumps off Pattinson.

Cook followed Pietersen soon after as Agar’s brilliant debut continued making Cook his first Test victim a turning ball caught the edge of the England skipper’s bat which Clarke took with a fine diving catch.

At lunch England finished 137-4, after the break Agar had Bairstow caught behind for 15 leaving England 174-5 with a lead of just 109.

Just as England were gaining control Siddle dismissed Prior, however Bell took the sting out of the Aussie bowling line-up and with Broad riding his luck a strong stand developed in the middle.

By stumps, Broad closed onto his 13th half-century and the stand of 126 helped the hosts to 326-6.

Bell on 95 overnight, reached his 18th Test hundred in the opening minutes of day four. Starc’s wayward delivery went for five no-balls and a mis-field saw Bell get to his second ton against Australia.

After reaching his 50, Broad fell to Pattinson and Bell’s (109) long innings finally came to an end when he edged Starc behind to Haddin.

Siddle dismissed Anderson and Swann to close the England innings on 375 and in reply Australia reached 28-0 at lunch.

The Aussies opening stand reached 84 before Broad had Watson (46) leg before and Ed Cowan, for just 13, gave Root his maiden Test wicket.

Rodgers fell to Anderson for 52 which left England in command at 124-3, but a 40-run partnership from Clarke and Smith looked to put the tourists in a good chasing position.

Broad struck to send the big man Clarke back to the pavilion after Prior held a catch behind which Dar gave out but Clarke reviewed the decision but it wasn’t to be his saviour.

Swann put Australia in a spin before the close as Smith and Hughes were both sent packing leaving them on 174-6.

Agar (14) the hero of the first innings put on 43 with Haddin, before Anderson already into his eighth over of the day had him caught at slip by captain Cook.

In the next over Anderson had Starc for 1 and after Cook dropped Siddle he then held onto a stunner as Cook and Anderson combined for the third time on the final morning leaving the score 231-9.

Haddin opened up his shoulders just before the lunch break smashing Swann for a boundary and he hit Finn for 15 runs in one over and Pattinson joined in the fun hitting Swann over the top.

Haddin reached his 11th fifty and a 70 run stand on the final wicket assured the crowd at Nottingham was in for a thrilling finale as Australia needed another 20 runs with one wicket remaining.

After lunch the Aussies could only manage five runs as Anderson had Haddin (71) caught behind which was then reviewed and given out by the third umpire and this meant England squeezed over the line by just 14 runs.

The much-anticipated first Ashes Test reached the heights of the intensity that is expected when these two huge rivals meet on the cricket field.

This heated contest continues rapidly as England and Australia play the Second Test on Thursday at Lord’s.

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Bowled Over – Ashes Key Men – By Luqman Liaqat

England’s key players
Alistair Cook (Captain) Left-hand batsmen Age: 28
Tests: 92 Runs: 7, 524 Batting Average: 49.17

Cook will be leading England out in the Ashes for the very first time after taking over the captaincy from Andrew Strauss in August, 2012. After scoring two hundreds against Bangladesh as stand-in-skipper, Cook has not looked back as he has become the first batsmen in history to score five centuries in his first five matches as captain.

Cook recorded 766 runs during the three Lion’s triumphant Ashes series in Australia during the 2010-11 season. Blessed with incredible mental strength and effective style, he is already England’s leading test century scorer with 25 and he is also the youngest man to score 7, 000 runs putting him on course to become the most prolific England batsmen ever.

Kevin Pietersen Right-hand batsmen Age: 33
Tests: 94 Runs: 7, 499 Batting Average: 49.01

The audacious public character of Pieterson alienates him from most fans in England and he has faced problems with team mates and management since leaving his native South Africa to chase fame and fortune back in 1997.
Pietersen’s ability with the bat was in no doubt when he announced his arrival in the 2005 Ashes series scoring a strong 158 in the final test giving England a draw and sealing their first Ashes win in 16 years.

His brilliant 149 versus South Africa last year at Headingley showed he can make some of the best bowlers in the world helpless at times and he was dropped for the second test for allegedly sending texts to the opposition containing remarks about his colleagues.

After being reinstated to the England ranks, he scored a superb knock of 186 in Mumbai which was described as the best innings by an Englishmen in the sub-continent.

In his best form, Pietersen remains one of the few batsmen in world cricket who can turn the match around in course of a session.

James Anderson Right-Arm pace bowler Age: 30
Tests: 82 Bowling: 307 wickets @ 30.14

The tall Lancashire man is capable of swinging the new ball both ways and showed maturity and skill in India during the winter where he took 12 wickets at 30.25 in conditions which had no help whatsoever for pace bowlers.

One more wicket puts Anderson ahead of Fred Trueman as England’s all-time top wicket taker and alongside Dale Steyn is now the best swing bowler in the world and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the first man to take 300 wickets.

Australia’s key players
Michael Clarke (Captain) Right-hand batsmen Age: 32
Tests: 92 Runs: 7, 275 Batting Average: 52.33

Clarke has arguably established himself as the best batsmen in the world on the back of some outstanding run of form in 2012. He is the only member of the squad who has played in an Ashes-winning team, after being almost rejected by the Australian public as a successor for Ricky Ponting. Clarke has finally won over the doubts with his sheer class with the bat going to new levels.

He has also gained a new level of respect, he is getting close to batsmen such as Steve Waugh, Ponting and Mathew Hayden who had unbelievable batting statistics in the Test arena.

Shane Watson All Rounder (Right-hand batsmen and Right-arm fast medium bowler) Age: 32
Tests: 41 Runs: 2, 2580 Batting Average: 35.34
Bowling: 62 @ 30.06

Technically strong and correct and plays beautifully through the off-side also scores at a brisk rate when on his best form. The influential Aussie all-rounder has a better average against England more than any other team at 48.21.

Despite injuries playing a key-part throughout his career, Watson’s commitment has also been highly questionable at times and his nagging medium pace is a very useful tool.
Probably Australia’s key-man this summer as they need him to score runs and take wickets just like Andrew Flintoff did in the 2005 Ashes.

Peter Siddle Right-arm fast medium Age: 28
Tests: 41 Bowling: 150 wickets @ 28.84

Capable of swinging the ball at pace and with aggression, he can be relied on bowling very long spells through the five-test match series of the 2013 Ashes. Siddle is Australia’s most experienced bowler, most memorably claiming a hat-trick in the opening Ashes Test of the 2010-11 series.

A strong workhorse who can bowl all-day for the skipper, the bowling attack leader and the likes of youngsters James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc will be looking up to him for help and advice.

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Bowled Over – England claim second test victory – By Luqman Liaqat

Graeme Swann took his haul to 10 wickets for the match on an intense day five to claim victory for England against New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley Carnegie and as a result obtaining a series whitewash.

Another highlight for this match has the outstanding maiden hundred for young Yorkshireman Joe Root.

Heavy downpour completely wiped out the opening day of the test match at soggy Headingley.

After no chance of even the toss taking place, umpires Marias Erasmus and Steve Davis announced play had been abandoned for the day at around 4pm.
Despite the disappointing news about the match not commencing, the fans received some rather good news coming through as the club offered refunds to all 10,000 ticket holders as well as an option of taking a ticket for next year’s Test versus Sri Lanka.

The team news included a few changes from the Black Cap’s camp, skipper Brendon McCullum was declared wicket keeper after BJ Watling’s injury, and Martin Guptill and Doug Bracewell were the other two to come in.

At the toss on day two, Alaistair Cook chose to bat first and it proved to be a great decision after an early wobble the two young Yorkshiremen Root and Johnny Bairstow fought back with a superb partnership for the fifth wicket.
Nick Compton’s attempt to keep his place in the test side started terribly as he edged to Dean Brownlie at first slip off Tim Southee. Before lunch, Jonathon Trott (28) and Cook (34) both departed from successive deliveries leaving the hosts 65-3.

Then Ian Bell helped Root rebuild the innings with the pair putting on 79 for the fourth wicket. Bell’s dismissal came off part-time off-spinner Kane Williamson which almost let the tourists back into the game.

The dynamic youngster thrilled the crowd to bring England back into a promising position, despite the fall of late wickets.

Root looked calm and composed to get a well-deserved century, however Baistow nearly sent him back to the pavilion when he drove the ball into the stumps but thankfully Root’s bat was grounded.

His milestone arrived with the 9th four of an exceptional innings as a result making him the first Yorkshire player to hit their first test ton at Leeds. The pair’s fifth wicket partnership was worth 124 with Bairstow also chipping in with a handy 64.

Root was on his way when New Zealand took the new ball edging behind to McCullum and Stuart Broad followed him soon after. Yet Matt Prior (37 not out) and Swann (21 out), finished the day with a flourish, putting on 51 in a hurry to put England on top with the score on 337-7 at the close.
Early on day three, the Kiwis wrapped up the English first innings for 354 with Trent Boult taking the last two wickets to claim figures of 5-57.

In reply, the New Zealand openers Peter Fulton (28) and Hamish Rutherford (27) faced very few problems until Steve Finn came on before lunch to remove both and tempted Ross Taylor into dragging the ball back onto his stumps reducing the score to 72-3.

With substantial turn in the afternoon, Swann (4-42) ripped through the middle order in the process bowling out Brownlie and Guptill, while Williamson went leg before and Bracewell was the spinner’s fourth victim.

At 122-9, it looked like the follow-on would be upon the tourists before Neil Wagner and Boult put on a quick-fire 52 off just 27 balls taking them to 174-all out.

In the three lions second innings runs came at ease for Cook but Compton struggled again labouring to only seven runs off 45 balls before falling to Williamson.

An unbeaten 88 from Cook helped the hosts reach 116-1 at the close with a massive lead of 296 runs.

Captain Cook resumed in the morning session as he had left off the evening before, reaching the three figures in quick succession, bringing up his 25th century with an elegant cover drive off Southee.

Trott gave strong support to the left-hander as the pair added 134 for the second wicket before Cook departed for 130 chipping the ball straight to mid-off.

Williamson then removed Bell for six as England reached lunch at 249-3, a lead of 429 wasn’t deemed enough by the hosts, as they continued to bat.

Trott fell soon after lunch for 76, but Root (28) and Baistow (26) provided little cameos and the declaration finally came with the score on 287-5.

Chasing a virtually impossible target of 468, Fulton fell to Broad in the 8th over and Williamson soon followed being judged lbw for the second time in the match.

Rutherford put in a handy effort before being dismissed for 42 and then Finn put an end to a fourth wicket partnership of 79 by Taylor and Brownlie with short ball which was nicely held by Bell at gully.

Taylor reached a superb 70 before Swann clean bowled him and before the close Guptill was also on his way to leave New Zealand on the brink of defeat at 158-6.

With only the gloomy weather in favour of the tourists, play started at 11.45 am and it didn’t take Broad (2-26) long as he had McCullum straight away with a stunning return catch.

After a couple of heavy blows from Southee, Swann eventually captured his fifth victim of the innings as Trott took an easy catch at slip.

Rain halted play again just before lunch and play resumed around 3pm, after Bracewell’s wicket Swann had a sixth batsman ending with figures of 6-90.
The final wicket stand was all about dot-balls as Wagner and Boult kept out eight overs, Cook eventually lost patience and brought on Anderson who took only three balls to seal victory by 247 runs as Boult nicked behind to Prior.

England completed a 2-0 series whitewash in fine style with two dominant displays over the Black Caps.​​
The two sides will now play three ODI’s from Friday in preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 which begins on 6 June.

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Bowled Over – England settle for draw – By Luqman Liaqat

England had to settle for a draw in the second after the fifth day at Wellington was completely washed out.

The three lions dominated the match throughout and had the hosts following on but heavy rain ultimately saved them from defeat.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum was left to rue his decision of bowling first on day one of the second test in Wellington.

The day commenced well for the hosts when Neil Wagner struck in only the eleventh over dismissing Alaistair Cook for 17 as he chipped a full delivery straight to Peter Fulton at mid-on. It was a rare failure for the England skipper playing a miss-timed shot.

Nick Compton and Jonathon Trott were untroubled despite the best efforts of left-arm spinner Bruce Martin. The pair put on a stand of 210, Trott was the first to reach his ton bringing it up off 174 balls hitting 14 fours in the process. Compton was stranded in the nineties again and reached his century from 224 balls.

Compton failed to add more runs to his innings after reaching his century as he was caught at second slip by Ross Taylor off Martin leaving the score at 236-2.

Kevin Pietersen(18) and Trott (121) saw off the new ball with ease taking England to 267 at the close with the loss two wickets.

Trott fell early in the morning session of day two, edging Trent Boult behind to wicket-keeper BJ Watling. Ian Bell (11) and Joe Root (10) both failed to make any impression as Martin struck twice in quick succession leaving the tourists on 325-5.

Pietersen brought up his fifty from 112 balls and he then departed for 73 when he skied Martin (4-130) straight down to Fulton at mid-off who claimed his fourth wicket, Stuart Broad came and went for only six to leave England 374-7.

Matt Prior and Steve Finn put on a stand of 83 for the 8th wicket, Prior hammered Wagner for two straight sixes. Finn fell for 24 hitting Wagner to extra-cover, Prior scored a super innings of 82 off just 99 balls before reverse-sweeping Kane Williamson to short third-man and Monty Panesar edged the same bowler to slip as the innings ended on 465 at tea.

In the final session, James Anderson struck first when Fulton was snapped up by Cook for just one. New Zealand’s attempt to rebuild didn’t last long as Broad claimed two wickets in two deliveries. Hamish Rutherford found Cook at first slip and Taylor was clean-bowled for a golden duck leaving the hosts in deep trouble at stumps on 66-3 and still trailing by 399 runs.

Resuming on day three, New Zealand lost Williamson (42) and Doug Brownlie (18) in the first two overs of the morning session.

Skipper McCullum (69) and Watling (60) put together a partnership of 100 runs at either side of the lunch break. Finn made the breakthrough dismissing McCullum as Trott held onto a catch at second slip and Tim Southee hooked one straight to fine-leg.

Broad was wicket-less during the test series against India before Christmas and on this occasion he ripped through the Black Caps tail as he claimed figures of 51-6 and the innings folded on 254.

England enforced the follow-on in the final session as New Zealand still trailed by 211. The hosts lost Rutherford early again in their second innings as he fell to Panesar, Fulton with 41 and Williamson on 16 played out the remainder of the day taking them to 77-1 and still 134 runs behind.

Anderson made the breakthrough on day four, Fulton was caught at slip by Cook for 45 to end his stand of 56 with Williamson. On a deteriorating pitch, Taylor (41 not out) and Williamson (55 not out) dug in to share an unbroken partnership of 81 for the third wicket.

The pair looked set in the morning session, however after lunch the rain came down and only six overs were possible for the rest of day meaning New Zealand finished on 162-2 following-on with a deficit of 49 runs.

With only 35 overs possible on day four and more adverse weather conditions completely washed away the fifth day as England’s chance of taking a 1-0 lead in 3-match test series ended.

After two draws from the opening two tests, the final contest starting on Friday in Auckland is now a winner-takes all-encounter.

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Bowled Over – England Battle for Draw – By Luqman Liaqat

Night-watchman Steve Finn scored his first Test match half-century helping England secure a draw in the three-match series opener against New Zealand in Dunedin.

Finn was sent out to bat late in the evening when Alistair Cook fell after reaching a hundred, Nick Compton (117), Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior chipped in to attain the draw.

The first day of first test between New Zealand and England was washed out without a single ball being bowled due to heavy rain throughout most of the day in Dunedin.

Earlier in the day it was confirmed key spinner Graeme Swann would miss the rest of the series and faces surgery on his right elbow. James Tredwell was called up in the squad for the remainder of the series with Monty Panesar already included.

England endured a miserable start to their test series as the Black Caps took full control at the University Oval.

Alaistair Cook was Neil Wagner’s first of four victims when he was held at point by Hamish Rutherford and Kevin Pietersen followed the skipper back to the pavilion off the very next ball trapped lbw.

Despite a mini recovery by Ian Bell and Jonathon Trott of 46 runs, Wagner removed Bell for 24 and England were on the ropes at 71-5 when Trent Boult had Joe Root caught at second slip.

The innings never improved after lunch; Prior fell for 23 to the left-arm debutant Bruce Martin and only Trott looked in form but a moment of madness saw him miss time a sweep shot to short fine leg.

On the last wicket Finn (20) and James Anderson (23) added a partnership of 47 before Wagner (4-42) took his fourth wicket of Finn and Martin (4-43) claimed Anderson caught at point finishing England’s innings for just 167.

In reply, Rutherford (77) and Peter Fulton (46) rubbed salt into the three lion’s wounds as New Zealand closed day two on 131-0.

The openers continued their solid opening stand taking the hosts past 150 before Prior held a low catch off Anderson in the process removing Fulton for 55.

Despite a breakthrough early in the day, Rutherford and Kane Williamson shared a stand of 91 for the third wicket taking the score to 249. Panesar had been suffering at the hands of Rutherford but he struck bowling out Williamson for 24.

Rutherford’s remarkable innings of 171 included beautiful driving through the covers and mid-on from Finn and Anderson bowling. He is also hit two massive sixes of Panesar before departing in the afternoon session caught at midwicket by substitute Chris Woakes off Anderson’s bowling.

Three dismissals followed for 16 runs as the tourists reduced the hosts 326-6, with Anderson taking two. BJ Watling came and went without troubling the score being bowled out by Broad.

McCullum and Tim Southee scored 44 runs in six overs to take New Zealand 200 runs ahead. Southee departed for 25, but McCullum (44 not out) and Martin (17 not out) carried out till stumps taking the score to 402-7.

New Zealand added 58 runs on day three to their overnight score; McCullum added 30 off 17 balls including two sixes off Anderson and Broad.

Broad (3-118) finally removed the kiwis’ captain for 74 with Anderson taking the catch at midwicket. Debutant tailender Martin was out for a cameo of 41 caught behind by Prior off Finn (1-102).

New Zealand declared on 460-9 with a lead of 293 during the morning session, Compton and Cook batted brilliantly with a 231 run opening stand.

Cook reached his century, the innings of 116 off 252 balls which included 15 fours. Boult finally dismissed Cook as the wicket-keeper Watling held on behind.

Compton was under increasing pressure to keep his place in the team, he survived two run-out chances in the 90’s and he brought up the landmark with a quick single off his 252nd ball. Compton, along with night-watchman Finn, saw of the remaining delivers of the day ensuring England remain in contention for a draw. England finished day four on 234-1 with a deficit of 59 runs.

Compton fell early on day five for 117, Wagner trapped him leg before with a sharp in swinging delivery. Trott and Finn shared a 90 run stand, Finn reached his fifty with five boundaries hit to the third man boundary.

Trott hit eight fours in his knock of 52 before handing a caught and bowled to Wagner. Wagner (3-141) took his seventh wicket of the match sneaking out Pieterson for 12. Finn followed soon after for a hard worked 56 when Martin wrapped him on the pads leaving England on 386-5.

Even with a run out of Root it wasn’t enough for New Zealand to break through the tourist line up as Prior (26) and Bell (23) took England to 421-6 and a lead of 128, with timing running out the two teams decided to shake hands and call the match a draw.

Both teams will be hoping to find a pitch offering more help for bowlers moving to the next test in the series, Pieterson’s injured right knee will be the main worry for England heading into the 2nd Test match starting on Thursday at Wellington.

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Bowled Over – England Clinch Series – By Luqman Liaqat

England sealed the series in the third and final one-day international with a five-wicket victory over New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland.

Steve Finn led the way in brilliant fashion as he finished with figures of 3-27, as the hosts were dismissed for 185 in only 43.5 overs despite Brendon McCullum’s explosive innings of 79 off 68 balls.

Skipper Alaistair Cook started the chase in solid fashion, he scored 46 helping the tourists reach the target with relative ease.

Tim Southee’s impressive bowling reading (3-48) did little to interrupt the comfortable win.

The three lion’s new-bowling pair made immediate inroads into the Black Caps batting line-up during the first powerplay, leaving them reeling on 18-3. Finn had BJ Watling caught at second slip by Graeme Swann off his fourth ball and followed it up by removing Hamish Rutherford for just two. In between the Finn wickets, James Anderson had Kane Williamson (7) edging behind.

Ross Taylor and Grant Elliot made a mini recovery with a partnership of 53 for the fourth wicket. Both the batsmen fell in the space of nine deliveries during the 23rd and 25th overs, Elliot was run out after Taylor sent him back when the pair were searching for a second run to fine-leg and Taylor himself was caught behind by Jos Butler off Stuart Broad.

The Hot-spot replay showed no contact with the bat for Taylor wicket however, the third-umpire backed up his on-field colleague’s call as the New Zealanders slumped to 67-5.

Again it was left to McCullum to boost his team’s batting effort; in the batting powerplay he pulled Finn for two fours before flat-batting him for a maximum over long-off.

The lower order provided no support to McCullum, as Andre Ellis top-edged Broad (2-38) to fine-leg and Chris Woakes wrapped Kyle Mills on the pads in the next over leaving the score on 150-9.

McCullum hit two meaty sixes off Swann before holing out at deep mid-wicket to Anderson giving the spinner his second wicket meaning the hosts innings ended on 185-all out with 37 unused deliveries.

England encountered very few problems when chasing down the small target, openers Cook and Ian Bell put things firmly on track. Bell went for 24 when he mis-pulled Ellis at deep midwicket leaving England on 42-1 inside 7 overs.

Cook and Jonathan Trott’s partnership of 69 for the second wicket steadied the chase. In the 21st and 23rd overs Southee struck twice as England’s chase (112-3) took a slight wobble. Both batsmen were caught behind to loose-shots by the wicket-keeper.

But a stand of 56 between Eoin Morgan (39 off 24 balls) and Joe Root settled the issue, Morgan’s innings saw strong driving off Southee before lifting a huge six over mid-wicket and he also struck one off Nathan McCullum over long-on.

The dangerous left-hander Morgan lost his wicket swinging to Mills at fine-leg off Ellis and an over later Butler edged behind to Watling to give Southee his third wicket with only 16 runs left for victory (171-5).

Root again played a composed and mature innings of 28 from 56 balls as he took England home with 12.3 overs still remaining.

The win secures England first ODI series triumph in New Zealand since 1992 leaving them in strong stride ahead of the test series beginning in Dunedin on the March 6.

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Bowled Over – England Slump to ODI Defeat – By Luqman Liaqat

New Zealand struck first blood with a three-wicket win in the first one-day international against England in Hamilton.

The match went one way then the other as the Black caps chased down 259 in crushing style via Brendon McCullum’s brutal hitting in the latter overs.

However the return of Martin Guptill proved vital. The opener turned the course of the match supporting skipper McCullum to take New Zealand home with seven balls remaining.

Earlier Jonathon Trott and Ian Bell both scored half-centuries for England but their innings never really caught fire and the final total was only par on the strong batting surface in Hamilton.

The returning ODI opening pair of Alaistair Cook and Bell started the innings for the three lions, Cook didn’t last long after hitting a superb cover drive for four he was on his way as Mitchell McClenaghan (4-56) struck bowling him out through his defence.

Trott (68) and Bell (64) took over the rebuilding process, laying the foundations for a competitive score with a stand of 84. Bell was adventurous, always attempting to loft over the infield. He had a let-off mistiming a slog sweep and was dropped by BJ Watling.

The opener reached his 50 from 67 balls with a chipped a shot off Andrew Ellis for a straight six. Bell soon edged James Franklin behind when he looked for runs in the off-side.

Trott picked up his strike-rate when Joe Root joined him in the middle playing big shots; he was bowled when making room for slog during the batting powerplay leaving England on 184-3 at the end of the 39th over.

Eoin Morgan came and went following Trott back to the pavilion spearing a low catch to Guptill at point; Root continued his hard work and became England’s quickest fifty maker bringing it up from 58 deliveries. Despite only facing 13 balls Jos Butler hammered a few sixes crashing McClenaghan over long-on and toe-ended a full toss over extra cover.

Root was bowled attempting a slog off Franklin (3-38) at 222-6, Chris Woakes and Graeme Swann rescued the innings giving England a total of 68 runs in the last 10 overs.

The Black caps chase began with difficulty as in the first over James Anderson had BJ Watling cleaned up with an inswinging yorker and became England’s most successful international bowler in all formats. Guptill was retired hurt in the next over with complaint of a hamstring strain, leaving New Zealand in bother at 18-1.

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor dug in taking the score to 75 before Woakes (2-52) had Taylor caught by Steve Finn at square. Williamson played a patient innings and Grant Elliot supported him as the pair put together with a 50 run stand moving onto 129 inside 30 overs.

An anchoring 74 from 99 balls came to an end for Williamson, confusion with McCullum lead to superb run out from Woakes. Nathan McCullum and Elliot aided their skipper with important cameos.

At 218-7 (46 overs) all hope rested on McCullum’s broad shoulders and an injury hit Guptill. With 41 runs still remaining, the courageous Guptill (27 off 27) ramped over third man for a maximum and followed it up with two fours.

After that only 13 runs were left from 12 balls, McCullum (69 from 61 balls) greeted Stuart Board hammering a trademark pull straight over the midwicket boundary.

Guptill levelled the score drilling a boundary on the off side and followed it up by lofting over the infield in the process taking the heroic New Zealand home with seven balls still to spare.

Now, England will have to come from behind for a triumphant odi-series against New Zealand starting with a win on Wednesday in the 2nd ODI.

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Bowled Over – Bell Inspires Consolation Victory – By Luqman Liaqat

Ian Bell scored an unbeaten hundred to guide England to a consolation victory over India in the fifth and final ODI in Dharamsala.

Bell carried his bat off as he finished on 113 not out, becoming the tenth Englishmen to score a one-day hundred on Indian soil, ensuring the three lions ended their tour on a high despite India winning the series 3-2.

Tim Bresnan impressed with the ball earlier during his final appearance before being sent for treatment on a nagging elbow injury, his figures of 4-45 played the key part in rolling over the hosts for 226.

Suresh Raina held the Indian innings together as he scored an adamant, at times fortunate, 83 to help his side recover from 49-4.

There was some initial movement for seamer Steve Finn but it was Bresnan who made the early inroads into the Indian batting line-up.

Rohit Sharma was first to go edging to James Tredwell at second slip and Virat Kohli bagged a golden duck after poking a wider delivery again to Tredwell, who held on after a nervy spot of juggling.

Yuvraj Singh survived the hat-trick ball however; he was squared up in the next over for nought by Finn giving Eoin Morgan an easy floating catch at point.

After the third wicket, Ghautam Ghambir fell as well, piling more misery on the Indian batsmen.

Raina and MS Dhoni rebuilt the innings adding 30 more runs. Raina launched a huge six off Tredwell before Finn trapped the Indian skipper lbw for 15.

Despite the loss of Dhoni leaving India 79-5, Raina didn’t give up and had a good ally in Ravindra Jadeja (39) who raised the run rate with two sixes taking the score to 157-6.

England put Raina’s catches down which cost them heavily, after Jadeja’s dismissal he reached 83 before pulling to Bell at mid-wicket off Chris Woakes’ bowling. However, the tail did wag for the hosts as Ravi Ashwin scored 19 and Bhuvenshwar Kumar with 31 fired India to a respectable total.

The score seemed below-par, as Alaistair Cook and Bell gave England a solid foundation with a 50 run stand.

Cook’s departure came soon after, Ishant Sharma crept through his defence to rattle the stumps dismissing him for 22 and Kevin Pietersen only scored six runs before he was caught well by a running Jadeja at the boundary off Shami Ahmed.

Joe Root joined Bell which put the run chase back on the track, the Yorkshire captain contributed with 31 in the pairs 79 run stand before he perished to Jadeja when attempting a rather ambitious sweep shot.

Root’s wicket would be India’s last success; Morgan produced an impressive cameo off 40 from 40 balls and Bell brought up his century with a beautiful drive past a diving midwicket fielder.

The pair’s unbeaten partnership of 84 helped England get over line which will be a morale-boosting victory regardless of losing the series ahead of the tour to New Zealand.

The two teams will now face tough upcoming tours as India host Australia at the end of February and England play New Zealand in the first T20 on February 4.

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