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Strauss stars in England victory

Andrew Strauss's 106 is the centrepiece of England's run chase in a come-from-behind six-wicket win against New Zealand in the 2nd Test in Manchester.
AFP | By Julian Guyer, Manchester, England
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2008 09:29 PM IST

Andrew Strauss's 106 was the centrepiece of England's run chase in a come-from-behind six-wicket win against New Zealand in the second Test in Manchester at Old Trafford.

England, set 294 for victory, finished on 294 for four on Monday as they won with more than a day to spare and so went 1-0 up in this three-match series following the drawn first Test at Lord's.

When opener Strauss was out, England still needed 59 more to win.

And their nerves weren't helped when the in-form Kevin Pietersen, going for a needless second, was run out for 42 by Iain O'Brien's throw from fine leg to wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum.

That left England on 248 for four, 46 runs adrift.

And with 30 runs wanted, pace bowler O'Brien dropped a gentle caught and bowled chance offered by Ian Bell on nine.

Bell, who finished on 21 not out, and Paul Collingwood, unbeaten on 24, guided England home off the last ball before tea.

This victory saw England set a new record for the highest fourth innings winning total scored in an Old Trafford Test, breaking the mark of 231 for three they posted against the West Indies here four years ago.

Middlesex left-hander Strauss, who top-scored with 60 in England's meagre first innings 202, faced 186 balls with 12 fours.

This was the 31-year-old's 12th hundred in his 48th Test, his first having come on his debut against New Zealand at Lord's four years ago.

But that England had a chance of victory in a match where they had been largely outplayed owed much to Monty Panesar.

The left-arm spinner's Test-best haul of six for 37 in New Zealand's second innings 114 kept England's target within manageable bounds.

Strauss had not long completed his second century in three Tests when he was caught by Ross Taylor, diving low to his left at first slip, off O'Brien to leave England 235 for three.

England resumed in blustery conditions Monday on 76 for one, Strauss 27 not out and captain Michael Vaughan unbeaten on 12.

It looked as if they might get through the morning without losing a wicket until Vaughan was caught behind for 48 after a second-wicket stand of 90.

New Zealand captain and left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, who had taken five wickets in the first innings, remained a threat.

But Strauss and Vaughan, unlike England's batsmen in the first innings, were ran hard to take singles and turn ones into twos.

There was a sense of momentum shifting and McCullum, in an echo of England's poor outfielding, saw a wild shy at the stumps go for four overthrows.

All-rounder Jacob Oram, whose eight first innings overs cost five runs, was brought into the attack with England 119 for one.

He hadn't bowled at all Sunday after landing awkwardly on his shoulder during fielding practice and injuring his neck. But the medium-pacer twice beat Vaughan outside off-stump in his first over Monday.

However, it was the introduction of pace bowler Chris Martin that led to a wicket when Vaughan, driving loosely, was caught behind to leave England 150 for two.

England had been in a struggling position after conceding a lead of 179 on first innings.

This was the 11th straight Test where they'd failed to reach the first innings benchmark total of 400.

But Panesar, 25 of whose 101 Test wickets have come at Old Trafford, gave the batsmen a chance to make amends after Taylor had set-up New Zealand's strong early position with a career-best 154 not out.

The third Test starts at Trent Bridge on June 5.

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