England hold firm grip over Kiwis

Wellington, March 14:

A century by Tim Ambrose and a five wicket bag for James Anderson gave England a firm grip on the second cricket Test against New Zealand by the end of the second day on Friday.

England were four without loss in their second innings at stumps for a commanding 148-run lead after routing New Zealand inside three sessions for 198. Barring weather intervention, a result seems almost certain in the Test after 15 wickets fell in the day.

England, looking to make amends after losing the first Test, resumed the day at 291 for five in their first innings and Ambrose reached his maiden Test century as they added 51 runs before folding at 342.

New Zealand struggled to 100 for three by tea and then capitulated, losing their last seven wickets for 96 runs and leaving England openers Michael Vaughan and Alastair Cook to negotiate five overs before the close.

Recalled paceman Anderson was the chief destroyer of the New Zealand innings, taking out Matthew Bell for a duck and Jamie How for seven in his opening spell. He removed Mathew Taylor (nine) after lunch before Stephen Fleming (34) and Ross Taylor (53) rallied the New Zealand innings with a 71-run stand, which ended soon after the tea break when Anderson struck twice more to finish with five for 79.

Former New Zealand captain Fleming received a standing ovation when he reached 18 to become the first New Zealander to amass 7,000 Test runs, but his first century on his adopted home ground continues to elude him. Paul Collingwood, who finished the innings by bowling Martin, recorded his career best figures of 3-23.

Earlier, Ambrose had resumed the day on 97 and reached his 100 by edging Jacob Oram (3-46) through the slips for four in the fourth over of play. But he added just one more before prodding at Mills and being caught by Ross Taylor. Collingwood moved from his overnight 48 to 65 before he was trapped in front by Gillespie (4-79).