HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) -
Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood pulled off superb catches to
give England a slight advantage over New Zealand on Wednesday
after the first day of the first cricket test.
Cook took three catches and Collingwood two, including one
from his own bowling, to leave New Zealand on 282 for six at
stumps after captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and chose to
bat in ideal conditions at Seddon Park.
Tim Ambrose, making his test debut as the seventh
wicketkeeper England has used in all forms of cricket since
December, chipped in with a catch to dismiss Brendon McCullum
(51) two overs before stumps and to snuff out the last major
threat to England's charge.
McCullum, who has been in scintillating form in recent weeks
- smashing a 52 ball century in a recent domestic one-day match
- threatened to tip the match New Zealand's way, but was
dismissed after reaching 50 from 53 balls with five boundaries
and two sixes.
McCullum combined for a 101-run sixth-wicket stand with Ross
Taylor, who brought up his maiden test half century and was 54
not out at stumps with Vettori unbeaten on 4.
England had developed a reputation on tour as a mediocre
fielding team, but it redeemed itself Wednesday as Cook and
Collingwood, fielding variously at slip, gully and backward
point, snapped up every chance that came their way.
Cook's catches accounted for Matthew Bell (19), Stephen
Fleming (41) and Jacob Oram (10) while Collingwood caught opener
Jamie How and Mathew Sinclair (8).
Cook set the trend for the day when he caught Bell at gully
off Steve Harmison's bowling in the first session and took a
brilliant diving catch at backward point after lunch to dismiss
Fleming off a Sidebottom ball.
Collingwood joined in when he caught Sinclair off his own
bowling during the second session.
Cook and Collingwood then each claimed a catch in the final
session to advance England's cause and give its bowlers full
reward for a day of hard graft in unforgiving conditions.
Paceman Sidebottom led the bowlers with figures of 2-39,
while Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Monty Panesar and Paul
Collingwood had one wicket each.
Collingwood's second victim was How, who batted more than
four hours and hit 11 fours in his innings of 92, which
substantially improved on his best score in six previous test
matches of 37.
Taylor, who reached a watchful half century from 118 balls,
also improved on his previous top test score of 17.
McCullum looked likely late in the day to hit New Zealand
back into a dominant position, but just as he had established
supremacy over the second new ball, he chased a wide delivery
from Sidebottom and offered Ambrose his first test catch.
New Zealand, 1st Innings
Jamie How c Collingwood b Panesar 92
Matthew Bell c Cook b Harmison 19
Stephen Fleming c Cook b Sidebottom 41
Mathew Sinclair c and b Collingwood 8
Ross Taylor not out 54
Jacob Oram c Cook b Hoggard 10
B McCullum c Ambrose b Sidebottom 51
Daniel Vettori not out 4
Extras (2lb, 1nb) 3
TOTAL (for six wickets) 282
Overs: 90. Batting time: 369 minutes.
Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-108, 3-129, 4-176, 5-277, 6-277.
Still to bat: Jeetan Patel, Kyle Mills, Chris Martin.
Bowling: Ryan Sidebottom 21-8-39-2 (1nb), Matthew Hoggard
21-1-95-1, Steve Harmison 15-2-64-1, Monty Panesar 26-7-66-1,
Umpires: Steve Davis and Daryl Harper, Australia.
TV Umpire: Billy Bowden, New Zealand. Match Referee: