England leave out Hoggard and hope to maintain momentum

first_imgShare via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up England captains are not in the habit of naming their final XI the day before the start of a home series, so it was tempting to discern a statement of intent in Michael Vaughan’s decision to omit Matthew Hoggard from today’s first Test against New Zealand and declare an unchanged side from the one that secured a series win in Napier in March.The absence of Hoggard is a vote of confidence in a relatively inexperienced bowling attack which, along with the injured Andrew Flintoff, now looks set to form the basis of England’s assault on the Ashes in 2009. There is plenty of cricket ahead but the plan is that the combination of Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar will feature in many more matches after its home debut.”Stuart Broad’s only played three games and bowling at Lord’s is totally different to Wellington and Napier, but he seems to have a lot about him and learns fast,” said Vaughan. “Jimmy Anderson’s exciting, and he’s said he’d like to be more consistent, so that’s his goal. Ryan is undoubtedly the bowler of the year, not just for England but probably around the world, and obviously there’s Monty’s spin bowling.”Hoggy’s done everything we could have asked but, when you’ve won a series, those guys deserve another opportunity and hopefully they can produce some really good performances.”Vaughan balanced his ambitions with caveats about the “workmanlike” qualities of the New Zealanders. But despite the promotion of the explosive wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum to No5, the vulnerability of their top order made it an area “we’ll try and expose”. In Wellington and Napier New Zealand’s two first innings totalled less than four sessions, and with poor weather forecast in north London over the next few days the need for another quick kill may be paramount.The New Zealand captain, Daniel Vettori, fit again after a finger injury, said he regarded the “workmanlike” epithet as a compliment but insisted his side were not here simply to make up the numbers. Share on Facebook First published on Wed 14 May 2008 22.39 EDT England leave out Hoggard and hope to maintain momentum Share via Email “For us to succeed we have to be near the top of our game all the time,” he said. “We aren’t blessed with the stars that other sides have. We just have to play exactly the way we played at Hamilton [where New Zealand won the first Test]. That was a complete performance – there wasn’t a session we let slip.”Pitch watchThe recent sublime weather has given Mick Hunt ideal conditions in which to prepare his pitch and it looks a beauty, flat with just enough grass to encourage carry Win toss and batTime was when early May and a high water table encouraged captains to think about bowling first. With super drainage and a heatwave that should not be the case hereWeather Heavy rain and north-easterly wind forecastTemperature 15CRelative humidity 79%EnglandAlastair Cook EssexAndrew Strauss MiddlesexMichael Vaughan YorkshireKevin Pietersen HampshireIan Bell WarwickshirePaul Collingwood DurhamTim Ambrose WarwickshireStuart Broad NottsRyan Sidebottom NottsMonty Panesar NorthantsJimmy Anderson LancashireNew ZealandFrom Jamie How, Aaron Redmond, James Marshall, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Flynn, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Chris Martin, Iain O’Brien Umpires S Taufel & S BucknorMatch referee R Madugalle Share on Twitter Wed 14 May 2008 22.39 EDT Read more Share on Pinterest England cricket team Matthew Hoggard will miss out on the first Test against New Zealand. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images Support The Guardian Topics … we have a small favour to ask. 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