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Finn's career best keeps England in hunt
March 23, 2013 , 11 : 21 am
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England's Steven Finn reacts after bowling during day one of the international cricket Test match between New Zealand and England at Eden Park in Auckland. Photo - AFP
Fast bowler Steven Finn equalled his career best Test figures of six for 125 as England fought their way back into the deciding third Test against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday. At stumps on the second day, England were 50 for two, 393 runs in arrears after dismissing New Zealand for 443 soon after tea.
Finn, who in the morning session claimed the prized New Zealand scalp of Peter Fulton for 136, ripped out the tail taking the final four wickets in the space of 21 balls. England made an uncomfortable start to their reply when Alastair Cook was snapped up down the leg side by wicketkeeper BJ Watling off Trent Boult for four at the start of the third over.
Jonathan Trott reached 27 before he followed Cook back to the pavilion when Boult beat him off the pitch to be leg before wicket and England were two for 44. Nick Compton (12 not out) and Ian Bell (six not out) then took a no risk approach through to stumps with only six runs scored in the final nine overs.
While New Zealand had reason to feel satisfied with their bowling, it was a disappointing end to the innings after resuming the day at 250 for one. The overnight pair of Fulton and Kane Williamson added a further 10 runs before the final nine wickets fell for 183 on a placid wicket as Finn equalled his best figures of six for 125 set against Australia at Brisbane in 2010.
Wicketkeeper Matt Prior was the other standout performer for England, taking five catches behind the stumps, including a spectacular one-handed diving effort to remove Fulton. The 34-year-old Fulton, who posted his maiden Test century, was in the middle for nearly eight hours and featured in a 181-run stand for the second wicket with Williamson (91).
However, New Zealand will be disappointed no other batsman was able to reach a half century.
Tim Southee managed 44 in a late cameo that included two sixes and four fours, but his dismissal in the third over after tea triggered a rapid end to the innings as the last three wickets fell in four overs.
Finn ended sitting on a hattrick after removing Watling (21) and Boult in successive balls. England took three wickets in the morning session starting with the removal of Williamson who was in sight of his fourth Test century when he edged James Anderson to Prior.
Fulton's marathon innings came to an end at 136 when he whipped Finn down the leg side only to see the athletic Prior just manage to get a glove to the ball and make the catch stick. Former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor produced a quick 19 before he was caught and bowled to give Monty Panesar his only wicket of the innings.
Brendon McCullum's dismissal on the second ball he faced was overturned on review. Replays showed the ball came off his pads, negating England's appeal for caught behind, and that the ball would have gone over middle stump, negating the secondary appeal for lbw.
From there McCullum (38) teamed up with Dean Brownlie (36) to add 68 for the fifth wicket before both fell before tea to end the only other New Zealand partnership of note.
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