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Ryan Sidebottom is tipping England for Test glory in New Zealand
Ryan Sidebottom knows all about Test success in New Zealand - and the Yorkshire fast bowler has backed Alastair Cook’s England to shine in the forthcoming three-match series, starting on Wednesday.
A ten-wicket match haul, including a hat-trick, a career best seven wickets in an innings and a 2-1 series win were all part of his 2008 experience under captain and coach Michael Vaughan and Peter Moores.
As Sidebottom and company were five years ago, Cook’s men are the resounding favourites for this series but they will be looking to avoid a 1-0 deficit.
Sidebottom’s new-ball brilliance helped England turned it around in a series which saw Matthew Hoggard’s international career end.
Sidebottom took ten wickets in the first Test at Hamilton, including a second-innings hat-trick, before taking five wickets in the second innings of the second Test at Wellington and 7-47 in the first innings of the decider at Napier.
The man of the series claimed 24 wickets at 17.08, more than twice as many as anybody else.
"That tour was definitely one of the highlights of my career,” he said.
“Going into that Test series I'd bowled well before Christmas in Sri Lanka with not much reward. I took that form onto New Zealand, but everything seemed to click for me.
"My dad and family were out there for the Test half of the trip, and it all seemed to fall into place. I really enjoyed it."
On his hat-trick, which included the wickets of Matthew Sinclair, Stephen Fleming and Jacob Oram, he remembered: "It was a bit lucky.
“I had two great catches by Alastair Cook. I bowled a wide pie to Stephen Fleming, which was meant to be a yorker. It was reversing at the time, but he got bat on it and Cookie took a good catch low down.
“I then got Sinclair and Jacob Oram, who I had a bit of success against. I just knew that I had to get it full and straight.”
Then it came to his seven-for at Napier: "We got bowled out for not much in the first innings and Mooresy had a bit of a chat to the bowlers, telling us to pull our fingers out,” he continued. “We responded.”
With England having gone from strength to strength since, including a double success against the Kiwis in coloured clothing recently, it would be a major surprise if there were any slip-ups this time around.
But Sidebottom has warned: “They’re not the biggest cricket nation, but New Zealand are renowned for having a fighting spirit. I still expect England to be too strong overall."
And on Joe Root, he added: "He's been great. It's obviously no surprise for us here at Yorkshire. He's very level-headed, works really hard and has been rewarded.”