Andrew Strauss provided solidity for England almost all day to steer them to a successful chase of 294 to win the second Test. New Zealand had absolutely no chance of coming back in the game after Strauss had decided to keep one end intact and also starring in three key partnerships. The end result was way too easy for England as they lost just the four wickets in their run chase which was thought to be quite challenging in the final innings.
England had a good foundation at 76 for 1 coming into this morning. The first hour saw some positive cricket being played by the overnight batsmen – Strauss and Skipper Vaughan. Both batsmen applied themselves and made batting look so simple despite the fighting spirit from the Kiwi bowlers. Eventually there was an odd lapse in concentration from Michael Vaughan which resulted in the much needed breakthrough. Vaughan had driven one away from his body off Chris Martin but not before he had taken England at a pretty looking 150 for 2. Vaughan had got 48 with 5 fours having played 103 balls. All New Zealand could achieve in the first session was this lone wicket.
Despite bowling some good deliveries and some nice fielding, the Kiwis were struggling to create any sort of pressure on England. Strauss kept going in the company of Pietersen and the match was slipping quickly from the Black Caps. Strauss did get out finally but only in the 70th over and at that time, his team were at 235 for 3. Strauss got 106 from 186 balls with a dozen boundaries before a loose drive from him off O’Brien was brilliantly caught in the slips by Taylor. It was the 12th Test hundred for the 31-year-old Strauss. His 85-run partnership with Pietersen had literally sealed the match and was also the third consecutive half century stand put on by the left hander.
England wrapped up the match in the chilling afternoon session losing just one more casualty in the form of Kevin Pietersen, who was run out. Pietersen had made 42 from 78 balls with 5 fours and a six. It was Ian Bell (21* from 42 balls) and Paul Collingwood (24* from 56 balls), who had finished the match off in the 88th over. There were quite a few serious contenders for the Man of the Match award which rightly went to Monty Panesar for turning the game on its head on the third day.
Originally posted 2008-05-26 06:16:58.