England's Andrew Strauss (right) is congratulated by teammate Kevin Pietersen after reaching his century on the fourth day of his side's second cricket Test match against New Zealand at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, England, yesterday. England won by six wickets. - AP
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Andrew Strauss scored his 12th Test century yesterday to guide England to a six-wicket win in the second Test over New Zealand and a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Strauss, who was dropped for England's tour of Sri Lanka last October, shared in a 90-run stand with captain Michael Vaughan (48) and hit 12 fours to score 106 in 186 balls at Old Trafford.
"I've had a chance to come back and show I wasn't a spent force," Strauss said. "I got an opportunity to return when other people felt I shouldn't. "It's hard work when you're not scoring as many runs as you want to, and I didn't realise how bad it was until I went through it."
Vaughan hailed Strauss for bouncing back and hitting two centuries in the last three tests.
"To come back and show that character and resistance, we hope we can build on that," Vaughan said. "Andrew Strauss is growing with confidence all the time. It's a tremendous 100 and one that got us over the line."
Resuming on the fourth day on 76-1 in pursuit of 294 for victory with ferocious winds swirling, England lost three wickets before Paul Collingwood hit the winning runs off the last ball before tea.
England lost their first wicket yesterday when Vaughan edged a leg-cutter from Chris Martin and was caught by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum with the score on 150.
Middle order exposed
Strauss and Kevin Pietersen put on 85 before Strauss was caught low down at slip by Ross Taylor off Ian O'Brien and England was 235-3. Thirteen runs later, Pietersen was run out for 42 and England's middle order was exposed.
But Ian Bell (21 not out), who was dropped by O'Brien off his own bowling, and Collingwood (24 not out) guided the team to its highest ever victory target at Old Trafford, surpassing the 231 set against West Indies in 2004.
New Zealand seemed destined to prosper Sunday when six England batsmen were removed for only 50 runs to be all out for 202, just narrowly avoiding the follow-on.