Black Caps force England to walk the plank

19:25, Mar 25 2013
Third test: NZ v England
New Zealand's Peter Fulton on day one of the third cricket test against England.
Third test: NZ v England
New Zealand's Hamish Rutherford avoids a ball in the face.
Third test: NZ v England
New Zealand's Hamish Rutherford plays a ball against England.
Third test: NZ v England
Reece Walters, age 14, hands New Zealand's captain Brendon McCullum the coin for the toss.
English players celebrate taking Hamish Rutherford's wicket.
English players celebrate taking Hamish Rutherford's wicket.
Peter Fulton
Peter Fulton makes a run past England's James Anderson.
Third test: NZ v England
England's Monty Panesar bowls on day one of the third cricket test.
Peter Fulton
Peter Fulton is congratulated by Kane Williamson on scoring a century.
Third test: NZ v England
Ross Taylor slips one towards the boundary during his short innings on day two.
Third test: NZ v England
England celebrate the wicket of Kane Williamson, out for 91.
Third test: NZ v England
Brendon McCullum plays a shot on day two of the third and final test.
Tim Southee
Tim Southee plays a shot against England on day two of the third test.
NZ vs England, 3rd test
England captain Alastair Cook congratulates Steven Finn on the wicket of Tim Southee.
Black Caps
New Zealand's Trent Boult appeals lbw for England's Jonathan Trott.
Third test: New Zealand vs England
New Zealand's captain Brendon McCullum (right) reacts on day two of the third cricket test match.
NZ vs England, 3rd test
England's Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton await an appeal decision.
Third test: NZ v England
Tim Southee celebrates the wicket of Ian Bell.
Third test: NZ v England
Jonny Bairstow walks off after being dismissed LBW by Trent Boult.
Third test: NZ v England
Trent Boult in action on day three.
kane out
Kane Williamson heads back to the dressing room on the third day.
Third test New Zealand v England
Dean Brownlie ducks underneath a bouncer.
Peter Fulton
Peter Fulton
Peter Fulton
Peter Fulton brings up his second century of the test.
Tim Southee
Tim Southee takes the wicket of Nick Compton.
New Zealand v England third test
New Zealand celebrate after taking the wicket of Alastair Cook.
Tim Southee
Tim Southee is the centre of attention after taking a catch close in to dismiss england batsman Steven Finn.
Tim Southee
Tim Southee is the centre of attention after taking a catch close in to dismiss england batsman Steven Finn.
Black Caps v England
Kane Williamson plays a pull shot on day four.
Peter Fulton
Peter Fulton is congratulated by Kane Williamson after scoring 100.
New Zealand v England third test gallery
Joe Root plays a shot as Brendon McCullum looks on.
England v New Zealand third test gallery
Joe Root plays a pull shot as New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling looks on.
New Zealand v England gallery
Ross Taylor and BJ Watling celebrate the wicket of Jonny Bairstow.
NZ vs England 1
England batsman Matt Prior avoiding a short ball that came close to hitting the wicket.
NZ vs England 2
New Zealand's Bruce Martin misses a difficult catch off Matt Prior.
NZ vs England 3
Tim Southee reacts to getting the decision from the umpire for an LBW against Matt Prior. It was then over-ruled by the third umpire.
NZ vs England 4
New Zealand's Neil Wagner celebrates the wicket of Ian Bell just before tea.
NZ vs England
New Zealand's Neil Wagner, centre, and his Black Cap teammates celebrate Wagner's wicket of Ian Bell, top left.
Third Test: New Zealand v England
Frustrated Black Caps show their emotions as test victory slips away.

As England's Captain Cook threw his head back in horror, hauled anchor and sailed off into the sunset, New Zealand's cricketers finally dared to dream on Eden Park.

Now so close to scratching a 14-year itch, they'll feel robbed if they don't claim six more England wickets today to win the third test and clinch a deserved 1-0 series victory.

"If we don't finish the job off now then I think it'll be pretty tough to swallow," said likely man of the match Peter Fulton, who scored back-to-back centuries.

England resume this morning, with fine weather forecast in Auckland, on a jittery 90-4 in pursuit of a mammoth 481 to win.

With Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott gone, the second new ball 28 overs away and the soft underbelly of the tourists' middle order exposed without Kevin Pietersen, there should be jubilant scenes by mid-afternoon to wrap up Eden Park's first test in seven years.

Combative gloveman Matt Prior looms as the big scalp later today, while Ian Bell resumes eight not out after 89 balls of defiance.

Advertisement

New Zealand Cricket senses history, too. Tickets are half-price, from $20 at the gate, with under-16s free, as they have a chance to witness the Black Caps' first series win over England since 1999.

Hobart and Colombo aside, test success has been so fleeting that New Zealand's most recent series victory against a top-eight nation was against West Indies in March, 2006.

Cook's wicket was the clincher in the afternoon shadows yesterday. With a test average of 49, his broad bat has defied better attacks on trickier pitches, and reaped centuries in three successive tests in India before Christmas.

New Zealand's shoulders were slumping and the ball wasn't swinging or turning, bar the occasional one from the footmarks for Bruce Martin. Neil Wagner had claimed the big wicket of Trott but that looked New Zealand's lot for the day.

Skipper Brendon McCullum, who will emerge from this series with huge credit for his batting and leadership, threw the ball to Kane Williamson.

Cook had batted three hours for 43 but, five overs before stumps, couldn't resist a drive at the offspin and Dean Brownlie grabbed a sharp chance at second slip. It made up for B J Watling's miss of Cook on one to a one-handed dive, which seemed costly.

"We all know he [Cook] can bat for a long period and apart from early on he hadn't looked like giving us a sniff. That was a massive wicket and an amazing catch by Deano," Fulton said.

In stark contrast to earlier when nine English fielders ringed the boundary, nine New Zealand fielders circled the bat.

Nightwatchman Steven Finn drove at Williamson and Tim Southee juggled then held a screamer at silly mid-off, to end another rollicking day before a crowd of 4583.

England have never been in this test and their body language yesterday was that of a beaten team, even if they are ranked the world No 2 with a series victory in India to their credit.

Having been caught on the hop by flatter than expected pitches and a more competitive New Zealand side, they're poised to depart with one of their more embarrassing series defeats in recent memory.

Batting coach Graham Gooch faced the music from the English press.

"I think it's a great reality check that you can't take any team lightly and you can't play people on what it says on the ranking or a piece of paper. You have to play good cricket on the field to compete.

And certainly in two out of the three matches so far, New Zealand have been in the ascendancy," Gooch said.

Resuming on a shaky 35-3, Fulton put the foot down and McCullum added the icing.

The pair put on 117 in 17 overs against a ragged England attack; Fulton becoming the fourth New Zealand batsman to score centuries in both test innings after offering a chance on 31.

McCullum blasted an unbeaten 67 off 53 balls and declared 45 minutes after lunch, leaving his bowlers 143 overs to dismiss England and clinch their big moment.

The Dominion Post