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Hoggard hopes to reach landmark at Headingly

Published: Thursday, August 3, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Leeds:Matthew Hoggard heads into the start of the third Test against Pakistan here desperate to reach the landmark of 500 first-class wickets on his Headingley home ground.

The 29-year-old Yorkshire swing bowler is just four victims away from the milestone and said Thursday there was no better place to do it than in front of his fellow Tykes.

"It would be fantastic to get to 500 first-class wickets during the next few days and particularly memorable to achieve it at Headingley.

"It's a big motivation going into the game because milestone such as this don't come around often," Hoggard also told the Yorkshire Post broadsheet.

"To achieve it at Headingley is something I would cherish for the rest of my life and I know the crowd will be right behind me.

"An England victory against Pakistan and four wickets for Matthew Hoggard - now that would do very nicely indeed, thank you very much."

Hoggard, 29, has played 56 Tests, taking 217 wickets. During that time he has appeared on some of cricket's most memorable grounds such as Lord's, Newlands in Cape Town and the Adelaide Oval.

But as far as the pace bowler was concerned there's no place like home.

"There's just something about the ground I can't put into words," he said.

"It's where I was brought up, it's where I played my cricket as a youngster, it's where I've played my county career with Yorkshire and then gone on to represent England.

"It still inspires me to do well and sends a shiver down my spine. It's a special feeling that's hard to describe."

England could clinch the series against Pakistan at Headingley after going 1-0 up in the four-match encounter thanks to an innings and 120 run victory in the second Test at Old Trafford, a crushing win completed inside three days.

But Hoggard has additional motivation for wanting to do well at Headingley this time after going wicketless at Old Trafford where fast bowler Stephen Harmison and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar took 19 wickets between them, the other down to a run-out.

Hoggard last went wicketless in Test cricket when West Indies's Brian Lara scored his world record 400 not out in Antigua in April 2004.

"It had been a while since I'd not taken a wicket and hopefully I can get on a good run again at Headingley," said Hoggard, who in his previous two Tests at the ground has taken seven wickets in total.

"But I'm happy with my form overall and the way things are going. I just thought it was fantastic that the likes of Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar performed so brilliantly in Manchester.

"You can't go wrong when you've got people like that in your side and it's a genuine team effort right across the board. I've certainly benefited from having such great players around."

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