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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dropping Harmison, Hoggard helped Vaughan

Dropping Harmison, Hoggard helped Vaughan

Last updated on: March 17, 2008 18:32 IST

A "gut feeling" choice made by Michael Vaughan to drop his bowling spearheads Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard paid enormous dividends for the England captain during the second Test win against New Zealand.

Vaughan introduced Stuart Broad, for his second Test, and James Anderson, who was smashed all around the small New Zealand grounds during the one-day series, to join the best bowler of the tour Ryan Sidebottom at the Basin Reserve.

England won by 126 runs on Monday to level the three-Test series. The final game begins in Napier on March 22.

The gamble to drop two men who have taken a combined 460 Test wickets was seen as huge by the travelling British media, although they took just one wicket each in the 189-run first Test defeat.

However, the decision ultimately paid off.

Anderson, who has been in and out of the Test team due to the vagaries of selection, injury and poor form, exploited the pitch conditions on the second day to rip the top off New Zealand's batting lineup in their first innings with five wickets.

Broad, whose only other match was against Sri Lanka where his team spent 187 overs in the field toiling away on a dead pitch, took two wickets in one over in New Zealand's second innings to ensure their top order were unable to continue a promising start.

Sidebottom, who was recalled last year after spending six years in the wilderness, continued his superb return to the international arena with his third five-wicket haul in Tests when he finished with five for 105 in the second innings.

The left-arm seamer, who took a hat-trick and had a 10-wicket haul in the first Test in Hamilton, has taken 16 wickets in the series so far at an impressive average of 17.50.

The trio had only played a combined total of 32 Tests before the match began, and Vaughan was pleased with their efforts in Wellington.

"They were excellent," he told reporters after the match. "Jimmy in the first innings was as Jimmy was and has been over the years when the ball's swinging.

"He put the ball in the right area and bowled a full length which was required on that pitch.

"Broady yesterday after lunch was exceptional, (and) ...Ryan Sidebottom was excellent once again.

"His (Sidebottom) control is exactly what you want, I think he's got a really good cricket brain as well. You put that into a package as a bowler you get a decent finish.

"As a bowling unit I thought we were excellent throughout... but they'll be the first to admit they got a pitch that was good to bowl on for their style of bowling.

"We're not going to get too excited about it just yet but it was exciting to be out there with a young attack with a bit of pace."

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