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New Zealand spare Collingwood 'bitter taste'

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2008, 12:01 [IST]
 
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London: England captain Paul Collingwood admitted he would have been left with a "bitter taste" in his mouth had his side defeated New Zealand in the fourth one-day international after a controversial run-out.

As it was the Black Caps won off the last ball for a dramatic one-wicket win here at The Oval which left them 2-1 up in the series ahead of Saturday's fifth and final match across London at Lord's.

But New Zealand might have got home with something to spare had not all-rounder Grant Elliott been run out in the 44th over, with 26 more runs still needed for victory, after a mid-pitch collision with onrushing England quick Ryan Sidebottom.

Elliott, who'd made 24 off 28 balls, was left on the ground after what appeared to be an accidental shoulder charge by Sidebottom, going for the ball, following Kyle Mills's call for single.

The South Africa-born all-rounder was then run out after Ian Bell threw the ball to Kevin Pietersen at the bowler's end.

Elliott received treatment on the field for several minutes.

But during that time, Collingwood who said he only had a "split-second" to make up his mind, chose not to withdraw the appeal and umpire Mark Benson gave Elliott out.

But with two needed off the final ball, Graeme Swann's overthrow allowed last man Mark Gillespie to come back for the winning second when he might well have been run out as New Zealand reached their target of 246

"To scrap back defending 245 would have left us pretty delighted immediately after the game," said Collingwood. "But I think I would have looked back at the game and there would certainly have been a bad taste in my mouth."

Under cricket's Law 27.8, a captain can withdraw an appeal, provided the umpire agrees, but Collingwood's refusal meant New Zealand were 220 for eight.

A furious Vettori vented his anger at the England dressing room.

Former New Zealand wicket-keeper Ian Smith, now working as a television commentator, said he could not remember the team being as angry since the infamous 'under-arm' match of 1981 in which he played.

Back then New Zealand, needing six off the last ball for victory, were denied the chance to win a one-day international against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when home captain Greg Chappell instructed his younger brother Trevor to roll the ball under-arm along the ground.

After this match, a clearly taken aback Collingwood told reporters: "In hindsight I wish I had called him (Elliott) back.

"A split-second decision had to be made and in a tight game like that, emotions running high, the umpire asked us if I wanted to uphold the appeal and I said 'yes'."

A conciliatory Vettori said: "Firstly, I'd just like to apologise properly for my reactions and our team's reactions at the end of the game.

"They were probably a little bit over the top. I've spoken to Paul about it and coach Peter Moores."

Vettori said he was glad he and Collingwood had patched things up.

"That is the most pleasing aspect because if it had festered and everyone had read the papers before we got a chance to talk maybe it would have been irreparable."

It was difficult to believe that Elliott would have been given out had the likes of currently sidelined England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff been playing and Vettori said: "You want your senior players to step up and say we've got 30 or 40 seconds here so let's make a decision which means we all come out with our heads held high."

Vettori added the tension of the last over had been almost unbearable.

"I was almost pleading for the tie but it all worked out in the end."

But, having seen man-of-the-match Scott Styris set the game up with 69 before Mills made a vital, unbeaten, 25, Vettori was optimistic his side's could finishing a tour which saw them beaten 2-0 in a Test series in style.

"It's been a really tough start to the tour but if we finish strongly we'll be remembered for bouncing back as opposed to some of our more disappointing perfomances."

AFP

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